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Abbas to Head Fatah-Hamas Unity Government Till Planned Elections

meshal abbas meeting

Khaled Meshal and Mahmoud Abbas meet in Qatar

Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshal have reached an agreement that would provide for Abbas to head a Palestinian unity caretaker government until elections, which would happen sometime in the coming months.  The deal comes on the heels of the abject failure of four rounds of Jordanian sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in which the Israeli side offered a deal for a Palestinian state that essentially followed the contours of the Separation Wall.

Israeli reaction was swift, negative and predictable:

…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warn[ed] Mr. Abbas that he could have peace with Israel or unity with Hamas, but not both.

Actually, the truth is Abbas could have peace with Israel if he accepted a neutered Palestine and permanent divorce from Gaza, the other half of the Palestinian nation.  What sort of peace would that be?

This Israeli formulation too drives me crazy:

Mr. Netanyahu disagrees that Hamas is changing. He noted in his statement on Monday that until Hamas recognizes Israel, abandons violence and accepts previous agreements with Israel signed by the Palestinian Authority — the three conditions that the United States and the European Union demand of Hamas, which has rejected them — it remains a renegade that must be shunned.

I would suggest a corollary set of Palestinian demands: until Israel recognizes a Palestinian state, abandons violence against Palestinians, and accepts previous peace deals (Oslo, Road Map, etc.) that it signed with the PA–then it remains a renegade that must be shunned.

Congress has boxed the Obama administration into a corner by mandating that any Palestinian government including Hamas within it, must be defunded.  That would remove $450-million of the $1 billion Palestine receives in foreign funding.  But given the expanding role that Qatar is taking in bringing the Palestinians together and possibly becoming the  new home in exile of Hamas, U.S. aid may no longer even be necessary.  Idiots like Gary Ackerman and the rest of the Lobby boys in Congress who devised this brilliant piece of legislation, should think about what it will be like to have the U.S. entirely cut out of having any influence with the Palestinians.  That’s what will happen if we cut the Palestinians loose.

It won’t hurt the Palestinians since they may have alternate sources of Arab funding.  But it will hurt the Israelis because they will continue their own obdurate ways as international pressure mounts against them.  Pretty soon, the only ally Israel will have left is the U.S., which will veto all necessary Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel.  But in the long-term, Israel cannot sustain this status quo.  The future will be grim.

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  • S. Lahat February 7, 2012, 12:57 AM

    Netanyahu: PA President must choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas (Ha’aretz, Feb. 06, 2012)

    Why must there be a choice?

    Why shouldn’t Abbas have both – peace with Hamas as well as peace with Israel?
    IF he had had a partner for genuine, productive peace-talks, he might have succeeded in that quest already. It’s the ultimate chutzpah, distortion of facts and disingenuousness for Netanyahu to proclaim: “Israel had made great efforts to advance the peace process.” ! When and where did that happen? The entire world apparently missed out on those “efforts”.
    If Abbas can persuade Hamas of the ultimate benefits for ALL Palestinians – up to and including Statehood -then pragmatism might just outweigh ideology and Hamas might retreat from its hard-line approach towards Israel and become a political ally of Fatah.
    It happened in Ireland with the Provisional IRA and in Spain with the ETA. Why not here?

  • Amir G February 7, 2012, 8:36 AM

    Qatar alongside the rest of the Arab world, weren’t so quick in aiding the PA financially, even with respect to previous commitment’s.

    The only states who fulfilled their obligations were the EU and the USA. Data is according to a report of the international bank issued around september 2011.
    http://www.mako.co.il/news-military/israel/Article-3c2f2ce653e5231017.htm

    What changed ? why do you think that Qatar would do what it previously didn’t ? what indications you have that such is going to take place ?

    • Richard Silverstein February 9, 2012, 1:16 AM

      Take it up with Ethan Bronner. He’s the one who wrote this. If you don’t like it maybe he can answer yr questions.

      • Amir G February 9, 2012, 1:57 AM

        I thought these were your words “It won’t hurt the Palestinians since they may have alternate sources of Arab funding. ” did Ethan Bronner write them ?
        or you just copy paste what ever he says without checking it ?

        • Richard Silverstein February 9, 2012, 2:30 AM

          Yr original comment, as did Bronner’s article, dealt with Qatar funding, not with “Arab” funding. You denied Qatar would fund Hamas. This was a claim of Bronner’s which I mentioned in my post. Again, take it up w him.

          And watch your mouthy snark. It’ll earn u a permanent holiday here.

          • Amir G February 9, 2012, 2:33 AM

            Richard, go do some reading, The Arabs are not fulfilling their commitments to the PA.

            So both you and Bronner are wrong. you are in good company, the company of those you so often bash.

  • Nausiating hypocrisy February 7, 2012, 4:25 PM

    Netanyahu’s response is wrong on so many levels.

    Here, to name just two:
    1) This deal is for an interim government for the Palestinian Authority, but the PA is (and always has been) merely an administrative body e.g. the subcontractor of this Israeli occupation.

    But PEACE is negotiated with the PLO, and always has been.

    Therefore an agreement between Hamas and Fatah regarding who runs the PA makes no difference to the PEACE negotiations.

    Abbas and Netanyahu can still sit down and negotiate a peace agreement, precisely because when they do Abbas is wearing the hat of Chairman of the PLO (vs. President of the PA), just as Bibi will be wearing the hat marked Israeli Prime Minister (vs. Leader Of The Likud).

    2) The phrase “abandons violence” is quite astonishing chutzpah, since it means that Bibi does not know why the word “belligerent” appears in the phrase “belligerent occupation”.

    It means An Occupation Via The Point Of A Gun.

    Bibi is treating us as fools when he pretents that Hamas are the only ones who are practicing violence.

    They Aren’t: a measure of “violence” is inherent in the very nature of a belligerent occupation.

  • Walter Ballin February 7, 2012, 9:57 PM

    Excellent blog, Richard! Regarding what you wrote here “Actually, the truth is Abbas could have peace with Israel if he accepted a neutered Palestine and permanent divorce from Gaza, the other half of the Palestinian nation. What sort of peace would that be?,” here’s something I wrote about Netanyahu’s idea of a Palestinian state which would really be a reservation. If he could succeed in pulling this off which he won’t, here’s my scenario of a bus tour of Jewish-Americans and/or other Americans who unconditionally support Israel on a visit to Israel. During part of the tour the visitors would be driven up to a gate which would be opened by soldiers or guards when the bus arrives. There would be a sign on the gate that says Palestine. The tour guide on the bus would announce “This is Palestine!” I guess that according to Netanyahu’s plan the tourists would be welcomed into the so-called Palestinian “state” by people with smiley faces selling trinkets to them.

  • kalea February 7, 2012, 10:36 PM

    I was hoping you would cover the story on Adnan Khader today.

    This man is the Bobby Sands of Palestine. He was imprisoned without charges, brutalized under interrogation and is now chained to his death bed.

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/amnesty-israel-release-or-try-khader-adnan-gravely-ill-after-51-days-hunger

    http://972mag.com/call-to-action-palestinian-prisoner-on-50th-day-of-hunger-strike/34752/

    Hopefully everyone will flood the Israeli Embassy and State Department with calls to save this man’s life and condemn this terrible injustice.