Abbas Pumps New Life Into Hamas
Translations of this item:
Abbas's "reconciliation" with Hamas is most probably aimed at exerting more pressure on Israel to make far-reaching concessions at the negotiating table. But Abbas's move will soon prove to be counterproductive. Hamas's goal is to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and replace Israel with an Islamic empire. Hamas has already made it clear that the deal with Abbas does not mean that it would change its ideology or renounce terrorism.
These are wonderful days for the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas.
Just when everyone thought that Hamas -- an officially designated terrorist group and an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood -- was on its way to vanish as a result of Egypt's tough measures, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas stepped in to save the movement by inviting its leaders to join a Palestinian unity government.
Abbas's recent decision to sign a "reconciliation" agreement with Hamas is the best gift that the Islamist movement could have dreamed of receiving.
Even if Abbas is not serious about the "reconciliation," his deal with the movement's leaders in the Gaza Strip has injected new blood into Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, in February 2007, before Hamas seized total control of Gaza. (Image source: MaanImages)
Hamas is now talking about running in the next Palestinian parliamentary elections and is even hoping to use the "reconciliation" accord as a vehicle for restoring its relations with Egypt.
Buoyed by Abbas's deal, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh phoned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and invited him to serve as a monitor in the election. Carter and hundreds of international monitors supervised the last parliamentary election in 2006, which resulted in a Hamas victory.
Hamas, of course, is confident that it would score another victory in any upcoming vote.
Until recently, Hamas was concerned only about one thing: how to remain in power despite Egypt's unprecedented measures against the movement and its leaders.
These measures include the destruction of hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt during the past few months -- a move that created a severe economic and humanitarian crisis for the Palestinians living under Hamas's rule.
Moreover, Egypt's massive crackdown on Hamas-affiliated terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula in particular, and the outlawing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood organization in general, have dealt Hamas a severe blow.
Ever since the removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power, the Egyptian authorities have been working hard to delegitimize Hamas and undermine its grip on the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians even went as far as also declaring Hamas a terrorist organization, holding it responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt over the past few months.
Even some of Hamas's top leaders have admitted that the Egyptian measures caused their movement huge damage. Last month, Hamas denounced the Egyptian measures as a "war crime."
Egypt's war on Hamas has now suffered a major setback as a result of Abbas's sudden decision to mend fences with the movement. The Egyptian authorities worked hard to delegitimize Hamas in the hope of ending its control over the Gaza Strip. But Abbas's move has legitimized Hamas, paving the way for the movement's return to center stage.
Hamas is not the only party that stands to benefit from Abbas's gesture. The Muslim Brotherhood organization, which had also been dealt severe blows in the aftermath of the removal of Morsi from power, also stands to benefit from the "reconciliation" pact.
Abbas's alliance with Hamas is likely to put him on a course of collision with the Egyptian government, which regards Hamas as a threat to Egypt's national security.
If Abbas has decided that Hamas is a legitimate partner and is worthy of joining his government and the PLO, why shouldn't the Muslim Brotherhood also demand equal treatment from the Egyptian authorities? And why shouldn't other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world demand that they be treated the same way as Hamas?
Abbas's rapprochement with Hamas can only embolden Muslim fundamentalists and undermine moderate secular forces throughout the Arab world.
But Abbas has not only emboldened Hamas. He and the Palestinian Authority have now assumed the role of Hamas advocates in a bid to whitewash the movement in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat this week went as far as arguing that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. "We might agree or differ with Hamas," Erekat said. "But Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The occupation, according to international law, is the worst form of terrorism."
Abbas's "reconciliation" accord with Hamas is most probably aimed at exerting pressure on Israel to make far-reaching concessions at the negotiating table.
But Abbas's move will soon prove to be counterproductive. Hamas's goal is to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and replace Israel with an Islamic empire. Abbas is deceiving himself and others when he says that a unity government with Hamas would recognize Israel and renounce violence. Hamas has already made it clear that the deal with Abbas does not mean that it would change its ideology or renounce terrorism.
Reader comments on this item
|Political transfusion [39 words]||Sadie||May 5, 2014 11:36|
|Claims of the Jewish and Arab peoples under International Law to the Right of Self-Determination in Palestine [166 words]||Wallace Edward Brand||May 2, 2014 22:43|
|Wishful projections [113 words]||Bart Benschop||May 1, 2014 03:00|
|The end of a sham [28 words]||Beatrix139||Apr 30, 2014 08:59|
|And the number one funding source [52 words]||Mutantone||Apr 30, 2014 05:39|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz