Buoyed by the "reconciliation" agreement reached with President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas has announced that it seeks to unite all Palestinians in the fight against the "Zionist enterprise." In other words, Hamas views the agreement as a vehicle for rallying Palestinians behind it toward achieving its longtime goal of destroying Israel.
When Hamas talks about the "Zionist enterprise," it is referring to the establishment of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Hamas is not only opposed to the existence of Israel on what it and most Muslims perceive as "Muslim-owned" land; it reiterates, at every opportunity, its desire to annihilate Israel.
Those who think that the new "reconciliation" accord will have a moderating effect of Hamas are both blind and deaf to what Hamas itself has been stating both before and after the agreement. One has to give Hamas credit for being clear, honest and consistent about its goal of destroying Israel.
Hours after the latest agreement was signed in Cairo, Saleh Arouri, the newly elected deputy chairman of Hamas's "political bureau," stated that his movement's next step was to work toward uniting all Palestinians against the "Zionist enterprise."
According to Arouri -- an arch-terrorist wanted by Israel for his role in funding and orchestrating terrorism -- pursuing the fight against Israel should be the number one priority of all Palestinians, especially in light of the "reconciliation" deal with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. The well-being of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is the very farthest thing from the minds of Hamas and its new partner, the PA.
Arouri, who shuttles between a number of Arab and Islamic countries, does not live in the Gaza Strip. As such, he is not faced with the power outages, lack of medical supplies, and ill-equipped hospitals dealt with on a daily basis by most Palestinians there. Why should he care about the plight of his people when he can afford to stay in five-star hotels in Lebanon, Egypt and other countries?
"We are hoping that we will be able to reach agreement with our brothers in Fatah [Abbas's ruling faction] and other Palestinian factions on a comprehensive national strategy to confront the Zionist enterprise," Arouri said in an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds. "It's not hard for us to find a formula that would bring all factions together. We believe that confronting the Zionist enterprise, with all means, is not only a right, but also the duty of all of us. This does not contravene international law."
Translation: Arouri, like most Hamas leaders, sees the "reconciliation" accord as an opportunity to advance Hamas's genocidal agenda against Israel and Jews. He believes that the new partnership with Abbas's Fatah should incentivize all other Palestinian factions to join forces in the fight against Israel.
More importantly, Arouri and Hamas view the "reconciliation" agreement as Fatah moving closer to Hamas and not the other way around. Here, the Hamas leader is absolutely right. The "reconciliation" agreement requires from Hamas only to dissolve its shadow government in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not being asked to recognize Israel's right to exist, or renounce terrorism or lay down its arms. Hamas is not being asked to change its anti-Semitic charter, which openly states:
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. (Hamas Charter, Article 13)
The charter also calls for the elimination not only of Israel but of Jews:
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem). (Hamas Charter, Article 7)
All that Hamas is being asked to do is to allow Abbas's Palestinian Authority government to manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for now at least, will continue to maintain "security control" over the Gaza Strip.
In the new "reconciliation" agreement between Hamas and Fatah, all that Hamas is being asked to do is to allow the Palestinian Authority government to manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas will continue to maintain "security control" over the Gaza Strip. Pictured: Hamas "security forces" parade their weapons in Gaza City, on July 20, 2017. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Hence, the "reconciliation" agreement is clearly a Fatah submission to Hamas and not vice versa. Abbas and his Fatah faction went crawling to Hamas because they were afraid of a possible alliance between Hamas and ousted Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan. Hamas played the Dahlan card very cleverly by spreading news that it was about to strike a deal with Dahlan to allow him back into the Gaza Strip, where he would serve as a governor with no security power. Dahlan is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Dahlan's return to the Gaza Strip would have saved Hamas from its isolation and financial crisis, especially in the aftermath of a series of sanctions imposed by Abbas on the Gaza Strip in a bid to undermine Hamas.
Moreover, through its "reconciliation" accord with Abbas, Hamas is hoping to prevent him from resuming peace talks with Israel. As Arouri clearly stated in the interview:
"We in Hamas do not want to engage in any political process with Israel. We don't want this and this is not our job. Our role is to pursue the resistance until the occupation is removed from our land. This is our position and it hasn't changed. With the [Israeli] enemy, there should be no political process. Instead, there should only be resistance."
For those who are not familiar with Arab terminology and culture, "resistance" is a euphemism for terrorism. For Hamas, resistance means rockets, missiles, suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism against Israel and Jews.
As such, Hamas is hoping that the "reconciliation" agreement will even further endear Fatah to terrorism as an alternative to peace talks with Israel. Hamas sees Abbas's intention to return to the Gaza Strip as a first step toward abandoning any peace process with Israel in favor of an armed struggle.
Not only does Hamas want Abbas to abandon any political process, it is now warning him that as its new partner, he has no authority to do so. Hamas's message to Abbas is: As of now, we are partners in "peace" and war. No one is entitled to surprise us by signing a political agreement with Israel that suits the views of one faction over the others. These are the precise words of the Hamas leader, Arouri.
Conclusion: The "reconciliation" deal is not meant to advance any peace process or to persuade Hamas to stop terrorism. Nor is it designed to rally Palestinians behind Abbas and Fatah. This is an agreement that paves the way for Abbas and Hamas to become equal partners. Hamas is right: Why should it allow Abbas to sign a peace agreement with Israel once he has agreed to sit with Hamas when it continues to seek the destruction of Israel? As Hamas's new partner, Abbas should as of now be held responsible for any terror attack that emanates from the Gaza Strip. Partnership entails accepting responsibility for the actions and rhetoric of your partners.
The bluff of Palestinian "reconciliation" is far from being about peace. Instead, it is about pursuing the fight against Israel and the "Zionist enterprise" -- namely, Israel and Jews. In his accord with Hamas, Abbas has signed onto Hamas's version of violent "resistance" against Israel and Jews. This is the real meaning of the Abbas-Hamas deal.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.