Friday, June 06, 2014
On Palestinian "Unity"
Dangerous and False Palestinian "Unity" -Efraim Inbar
The new Palestinian "unity" government is not about the reestablishment of one Palestinian political entity that could develop into a functioning Palestinian state.
Despite the current "unity" discourse, the Palestinians remain as divided as before. The only true test for "unity" of a political entity is monopoly over the use of force. As long as the military branch of Hamas remains independent, there is no unity; just evidence of the "Somalization" of Palestinian politics. Islamic Jihad also remains fiercely independent in Gaza, as well as other jihadist organizations. In fact, under the current accord, instead of the PA regaining lost Gaza, Hamas is gaining better access to the West Bank.
Unfortunately, what is happening in the Palestinian territories is part of a larger phenomenon characteristic of much of the Arab world before and after the so-called "Arab Spring." Lebanon, Somalia Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and even Egypt are plagued by a plethora of militias eroding the exclusive control of the central authorities. It is not clear to what extent are Palestinians able to move beyond this general Arab political malaise.
The de facto statehood which Hamas enjoys is good business, as it allows for the extraction of taxes and fees. In addition, it serves the extremist Hamas ideology that demands building Islamist political structures and keeping alive the military and theological struggle against the unacceptable Jewish state. Hamas has made it clear that it has not mellowed one bit on this issue. It also hopes to get a better foothold in the West Bank to fortify its role in Palestinian society. Hamas seeks to emulate the road taken by Hizballah in gaining political hegemony in Lebanon while maintaining a military force independent of the central government.
The reaction of the US and the EU to the new government –business as usual – is counterproductive and morally wrong. This approach helps the Palestinians evade facing their fundamental dilemma in state building: that there is no chance to attain statehood without achieving a monopoly over use of force. Thus the current Western stance, which allows for the continuation of a fragmented Palestinian polity, makes the establishment of a real, stable Palestinian state more unlikely than ever. Continuous economic support for a failing Palestinian order preserves its dysfunctional characteristics and does not encourage the Palestinians to make the needed difficult choices.
It is not the first time the Europeans and the Americans adopt misguided policies towards the Middle East, displaying naiveté, misunderstanding of Middle East realities, and moral failure. If the West is serious about the two-state paradigm and opposing Islamist terrorism, it must insist that Mahmoud Abbas reject cooperation with terrorist entities such as Hamas.
Palestinian society, under the spell of a nationalist and Islamic ethos, is simply unable to bring itself to a historic compromise with the Zionist movement that would end the conflict. Unfortunately, Palestinian rejectionism has won the day whenever a concrete partition plan was on the agenda. The ascendance of Hamas in Palestinian politics through this false "unity" government further undermines the search for peace.
[Middle East Forum]
Rift with Israel - Anne Gearan
Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and a foreign policy adviser to Netanyahu, said any international move that legitimizes Hamas is a dangerous mistake.
"I don't think that people in Washington understand the depth of Israel's disappointment over the decision to support this government," Gold said. "Hamas isn't just a terror organization....Hamas is an organization that has adopted an agenda to annihilate Jews."
State Department Winks at Merger with Hamas - Editorial
The 1988 Hamas Charter explicitly commits the Palestinian terror group to murdering Jews. Thanks to the formation this week of an interim government uniting Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. supports to the tune of more than $400 million a year, the American taxpayer may soon become an indirect party to that enterprise. U.S. law prohibits dispensing taxpayer money to any Palestinian entity over which Hamas exercises "undue influence."
The Oslo Accords and its progeny, including the 1998 Wye Memorandum, set very clear limits on the extent and potency of the PA arsenal. Under the Wye Memorandum, the PA is required to "establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of" illegal weapons.
Nobody should count on Abbas to exercise meaningful control over Hamas' arsenal, much less its behavior.
(Wall Street Journal)
Hamas Opts for the Hezbollah Model - Ehud Yaari
Hamas leaders have [begun] transplanting the Hizbullah model from Lebanon to the Palestinian territories. This means integrating into the general political system while retaining independent, well-equipped armed forces and striving to maintain control of Gaza through its existing grip on local bureaucracy, its wide network of social institutions, and its 20,000 well-trained military cadres and security personnel.
(Times of Israel)
The Lebanonization of the Palestinians - Jonathan Schanzer
The creation of a new Palestinian government that includes Hamas means that the Palestinians are poised to adopt the Lebanon model of allowing a terrorist entity to exist and operate outside of a weak government's reach.
Hamas leaders refuse to disband the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, its Gaza-based militia. This means that a robust terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, with tens of thousands of rockets and thousands of fighters, will remain intact.
PA Is Unified, But Palestinians Aren't - Avi Issacharoff
Hamas agreed to the deal because it is on the verge of bankruptcy. Every government office will have both Hamas and Fatah officials. The test for the new government isn't the fact that it got established, but its (questionable) ability to govern.
(Times of Israel)
Jewish Groups: Unity Government is Rejection of Peace
- Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
News of a Hamas-Fatah unity government was greeted with dismay by many American Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said: "United States law prohibits funding to a Palestinian government in which Hamas participates. We, therefore, support the calls by members of Congress from both parties to review U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority and to assure that the law is appropriately implemented."
Similarly, AIPAC said: "U.S. law is clear - no funds can be provided to a Palestinian government in which Hamas participates or has undue influence. We now urge Congress to conduct a thorough review of continued U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the law is completely followed and implemented."
(Times of Israel)