Hamas’ spokesman Hasan Abu Hashish called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pro-peace speech to the U.S. Congress Tuesday a “falsification of history,” according to an Iran-backed Hamas’ English Web site.
In his speech, Netanyahu said Israel is ready to sit down with the Palestinian Authority immediately and that Israel is willing to make painful compromises for peace – so long as the peace is substantive.
The Palestinians must stop questioning Israel’s existence as a homeland for the Jewish, contended Netanyahu. Rather, the negotiations should be about the future borders of a Palestinian state that would serve as the homeland for the Palestinian people.
With Fatah and Hamas about to create a joint Palestinian government, Abu Hashish said that Netanyahu’s speech meddled in Palestinian internal affairs and that Palestinian reconciliation will be implemented.
He was responding to Netanyahu’s claim that negotiating with Hamas, a terror organization that openly states its purpose is to destroy Israel and kill Jews, is futile so long as Hamas vows to never recognize Israel.
Nabil Shaath, a senior PA and Fatah member, said Netanyahu “destroyed any chances for peace, effectively waging war on the diplomatic process to bring about a final settlement.”
Shaath and other PA leaders walked out of peace negotiations with Israel in October of last year, citing Israel’s housing policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as their reason. Netanyahu has consistently urged the PA to come back to the negotiating table in order to reach a final-status peace agreement, in which issues like housing, security, refugees and Jerusalem could be mutually decided upon.
“I said to Abu Mazen [Abbas]…You want to make peace? [Ramallah] is 10 minutes away from Jerusalem where we’re sitting right now. I’m willing to come to you,” said Netanyahu during a CNN interview last week.
“Let’s sit down, shut the room, you know, basically sit down until smoke comes out. That’s the way you make peace. That’s how we made peace with Egypt. That’s how we made peace with Jordan,” added the Israeli premier.
Other Palestinians, like Dr. Abdel-Sattar Qasem of Nablus in the West Bank, said: “Even if Palestinians got a state within the 1967 borders, this will not be a solution, because the basis of a solution is the return of refugees,” in an article on another Hamas Web site.
In his speech, Netanyahu said that the Palestinian refugee question could be resolved in the future Palestinian state. He also said that the Arab Spring ushers in the hopes of greater freedom and positive relations between Israel and the Arab states.
The Palestinian Authority cannot continue to pay employees’ salaries because Israel is withholding tax revenue transfers it collects for them.
Israel is, at least for now, denying transfer of $90 million because of the Fatah-Hamas merger. Israel wants verifiable guarantees that none of the money will wind up in Hamas’ hands; no such guarantee has been offered.
According to Isabel Kershner in the New York Times, the P.A. is running a monthly deficit of $30 million. France and the EU have promised the P.A. grants totaling $135 million to help it meet its shortfall. Whether or not they’re prepared to fill the hole indefinitely remains to be seen.
Twenty-seven U.S. Senators have sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to reevaluate U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. The letter asks that he consider cutting aid to the PA altogether in response to the announced unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas.
The letter asks the White House to reaffirm its previous stance that it would not work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas. It asks that the president consider cutting aid to the PA should Hamas, which both the United States and Israel designate a terrorist group, remain in the Palestinian government.
Preconditions in U.S. law prevent aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless the government and all its members have publically committed to the Quartet principles.
“It is imperative for you to make clear to (Palestinian Authority) President (Mahmoud) Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of U.S. aid,” the letter urges the president.
“We urge you to conduct a review of the current situation and suspend aid should Hamas refuse to comply with Quartet conditions,” the senators wrote.
The first repercussion of the announced unification of Fatah and Hamas has been announced by the Israeli government.
Israel says it will temporarily halt the transfer of 10s of millions of dollars in funds to the Palestinian Authority, UPI reports.
The Oslo Accords require the payment of money to the PA. But Israel says it’s stopping the flow of cash, at least for the moment, because it fears some of it will now be diverted to paying for arms for Hamas.
Israel had previously said it would not negotiate with a Palestinian entity that includes Hamas, which it views as a terrorist organization.
Hamas and Fatah have signed a reconciliation agreement leading to a unity deal with elections planned for no later than September. Israeli President Shimon Peres called it, “a fatal mistake that will ruin the chances for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as a country.”
I call it a blessing in disguise. We should not interrupt our enemy while they get it wrong.
This agreement sings like Pavarotti. It exposes the false facade, the teeth of this Palestinian Authority (PA) jaw trap, for the whole world to see and realize. Can you imagine signing peace with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, only to see it annulled a short time later by the next Palestinian, Hamas-inspired ruler? Wouldn’t it be easier, less risky to renounce it now, before letting it grow and solidify, before consenting to the rule of terrorists over Judea and Samaria?
It’s no secret. Hamas enjoys wide support among the Palestinian population in Gaza and in the West Bank. Hamas represents a critical share of the Palestinian population in these areas. Had real democracy been put into action in these territories Hamas could have gained a significant share or even a majority of the votes, the same as they had in 2006. The latest Hamas-Fatah agreement can only elucidate and bring to the fore what was not apparent to those peace-seeking naïve leaders of the West.
Let’s not bury our heads in the sand. Hamas is as Palestinian as orange is to an orange juice. And one can’t form a representative Palestinian government without sharing power with these blood-thirsty terrorists who keep calling for jihad against all Jews.
Signing a peace agreement with Abbas, a person pretending to be in charge, with a government that does not represent, or does not even rule over half of its people is not worth the paper the agreement is signed on. This type of an agreement is exceedingly unstable. It’s a ruse.
Fatah activist Kifah Radaydeh, who was interviewed on PA TV, could not have said it clearer:
“…we perceive peace as one of the strategies,” he said. “…It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; the goal is Palestine (i.e., the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea).”
When it comes to their intentions vis-à-vis Israel, Kifah Radaydeh has been candid; Hamas has been forthright; the PA and its president have been deceptive. They fooled the Israeli left, they fooled the world; they gained sympathy and support for their fake cause.
Not anymore. Should the Hamas-Fatah reunion take place the rest of the world will confront a new PA. The world will face up to an uncompromising Islamic regime that does not take cover behind a fake façade.
Had unambiguous logic dominated the thinking of existing world powers, The Hamas-Fatah reunion would have helped the U.S. and the EU put down that crack pipe and get a grip on reality. They would realize that blaming the Jewish state for lack of progress in the peace process with the Palestinians is like accusing Poland for instigating World War II, or holding the US responsible for setting off a war with al Qaeda on 9/11. They would realize that a majority of Palestinians are the ones who give Palestinians their bad name. They would recognize that peace in the Middle East will come when we all speak Esperanto, that agreements with unstable Islamic regimes are as dead as Latin.
The Hamas-Fatah reunion should serve as a revelation. It should help the Israeli government and the rest of the world realize that even if this reunion does not materialize at this instant it is a semi-dormant volcano ready to erupt at any moment in the very near future.
You can’t be safe living next to an active volcano unless you dismiss the Pompeii experience. You can’t make peace with a PA that changes its colors every other season unless you don’t mind paving the road to an all out deadly war.