Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hamas is the same Hamas

Boaz Bismuth

Iran on Saturday congratulated the Palestinian people on the "anti-Zionist" reconciliation agreement that was reached between Hamas and Fatah. Does Iran see things that our politicians and commentators are missing?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas destroyed the negotiations with Israel, even though he promised his people a state, which, he should be reminded, can only be received from Jerusalem, not Gaza. Abbas should have done everything possible to extend the talks with Israel. This was a joint interest he shared with Israel and the Americans. But Abbas chose Hamas.

As always, at the moment of truth Abbas knew to make the "right" decision -- proving again that he is not interested in or capable of reaching a peace agreement with Israel. There will always be those who choose (due to Pavlovian conditioning) to blame the Israeli government and claim that it has no policy on the peace process. But particularly on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we should remember that the Israeli government's demand for secure borders is not just a policy, but also an obligation to its citizens.
But, as usual, it is natural to cast blame on Israel, as numerous media outlets around the world are doing. They point to the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet's decision to suspend negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, without mentioning the refusal of Hamas (a group that also the U.S. boycotts) to recognize Israel, which is just a small detail. It is not easy to negotiate with just half of the Palestinian populace, and Israel would have preferred that Palestinian "democracy" would have chosen a different government in 2007, rather than a terror government. Despite this impossible situation, Israel agreed last summer to conduct talks with the Palestinians and even release murderous terrorists from prison.
But there is a limit to how blind Israel can be to today's very obvious reality. Hamas will not recognize Israel and will continue to strive to do what it knows how to do -- kill Jews. Abbas can continue to claim that he will be in charge of the Palestinian unity government and that his recognition of Israel means that his government also recognizes Israel. But Hamas will avoid this "difficulty" and support the new Palestinian government (if it is established) from outside, until it comes to negotiations with Israel. And then, like in 2011 and 2012, Palestinian reconciliation will again end with renewed division. Peace has been brought on the Palestinians, but only for a limited time.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who got himself into this mess alone, has cast responsibility on "both sides" for not demonstrating the will to make tough decisions. Perhaps Obama thought the success that has eluded him in Egypt, Libya, Syria, North Korea and now Ukraine would come to him in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. But in the end, he merely racked up another failure in his unflattering foreign policy record.
Obama needs to understand now that, like Yassir Arafat, Abbas is not a partner who will lead the Palestinians to statehood. Since November 1947, the Palestinians have not missed any chances to make mistakes. How nice is it for them to have us to use as an excuse.
In the meantime, at the end of the nine-month negotiating window, there is an agreement, just like U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wanted. But rather than it being an Israeli-Palestinian deal, it is a Hamas-Fatah one. This is not the child we prayed for. Obama knows that Palestinian reconciliation will not get him a Nobel Peace Prize.

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