We’ve heard this before, of course. But now they have set a timetable to sit down and talk. Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah are talking about forming a coalition government. This would, if successful, create a completely different dynamic for Israel. Because Israel refuses to talk with Hamas, in the Gaza, because it sees it as a terrorist organization. If Hamas is part of a future government that also controls the West Bank, the question of future relations between Israel and Palestinians there would have to be addressed. P

PA threatens to withdraw recognition of Israel

There are those who have argued that there’s very little difference between Hamas, committed to the eradication of Israel, and Fatah – representing the Palestinian Authority – the “peace partner” with Israel. It’s only a question, they argue, of degree and semantics.

Now, the gap between the two with regard to the Jewish state, is starting to publicly close. With the pronouncement by a chief Palestinian negotiator that the PA may declare that it no longer recognizes the state of Israel. A move designed to cancel agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Jerusalem. And present a united front with Hamas as enemies of Israel.

Hamas slams UN Palestinian statehood bid

Hamas opposes Abbas' statehood bid. World Economic Forum photo

When Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas formally presents a statehood bid to the UN, who will he be representing?

Apparently not Hamas, which controls the Gaza.

Hamas is now saying that it opposes the proposal because it lacks substance.

Hamas and Fatah supposedly have mended their fences and speak with one voice. But apparently not.

Which raises interesting questions about, should the UN actually grant statehood, would it even be recognized by all Palestinians, much less Israel?

WJC: Palestinian state would ignite civil war


UNITED NATIONS  –  The United Nations recognition of a Palestinian State at this year’s General Assembly could lead to a civil war between competing Palestinian political factions and a possible increase in attacks against Israel, says the head of a the World Jewish Congress, an organization dedicated to protecting Jewish communities.

“If this unilateral declaration were to be endorsed by the United Nations it would most likely trigger the continuation of a vicious cycle of violence within the Palestinian side.” Dan Diker, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), told reporters at the UN. “The way that might play out is for Israel to be attacked, in order to distract attention from what is really happening, which is an internal Palestinian civil war between Fatah and Hamas.”

Palestinian leadership continues to maintain it will seek recognition at the United Nations this fall, although details about the exact status of recognition it is looking for remain unclear.

Diplomats say they have already secured support from over 120 countries.

Regardless of the questions surrounding the exact nature of the Palestinian request, groups like the WJC say any “unilateral” Palestinian action at the world body will set the peace process back decades and threaten the UN’s integrity.

“It would be an egregious violation of the very peace framework that this institution[UN] has established for the Arab states and Israel and has supported in every single peace process since 1967.”

Diker was at the UN along with members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), a coalition of Jewish legislators and ministers from around the world, to discuss support for Israel ahead of the General Assembly later this month.

ICJP Chair Fiamma Nirenstein, an Italian Member of Parliament, echoed the WJC Secretary General’s view  that recognition of Palestinian statehood would likely negate any previous international agreements between both parties.

“The moment when you arrive to unilateral declaration, you cancel them out…you make a blank slate.” she said,

Nearly a year ago, Palestinian leadership walked away from peace talks after Israel refused to extend a settlement freeze in the Occupied Territories. The UN has since voiced concern over an important increase in settlement construction.

The United States, Tel Aviv’s strongest ally at the world body, says continued construction of settlement is counter productive to peace efforts and illegitimate, but should not preclude negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nirenstein dismissed the notion that the Netanyahu government’s stance on settlement expansion was a significant obstacle to Middle East Peace, and argued that the issue should be part of the final negotiation process.

“A lot of the settlements have been dismantled in the Gaza strip, and probably the moment when there is an agreement, this is what will happen and the settlements will be dismantled.”

Fatah: Arafat was poisoned by one of his own

New claims surrounding Arafat's death

Yasser Arafat was poisoned causing his death. But it wasn’t the Israelis who were responsible.

That’s what Fatah is saying now. According to the claim contained in a report that was issued , a rival of Arafat ordered his bodyguards to poison him while he was undergoing treatment. The report offers no evidence to substantiate the claim.

It is commonly  believed among many Palestinians that Arafat was poisoned by Israel.


Fatah-Hamas impasse puts UN vote in jeopardy

Hamas rejected Fatah's Salam Fayyad as head of new unity entity. World Economic Forum photo


Last week I reported here that Hamas and Fatah leaders were to meet June 21 to finalize their pact. That meeting is now canceled and no one knows if the delicate merger will be realized.

The groups had run into a sticky patch over who would lead the combined group. Fatah has proposed its prime minister, Salaam Faayad. The Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, rejected the idea of Faayad as the new group’s leader. Ethan Bronner in the New York Times reports that Hamas considers Mr. Faayad a “stooge of Israel and the West…[and a] criminal.”

This impasse is seen in the Near East as a potential killer of the hoped-for UN vote on Palestinian statehood. The Obama administration has warned Abbas that “going ahead with the unity government” would jeopardize all American aid to Palestinians managed by Fatah. That sum totals nearly half a billion dollars, and has hovered in that area for many years.

So, “while the desire for unity is widely shared” in the West Bank (Fatah), and in Gaza (Hamas), there is no clear path, now, toward that unity aside from rhetoric.