Robert Rosenberg‘s Ariga.com report today contains this riveting item:
Islamic Jihad, which has been behind all the suicide bombings inside Israel since early 2005 — Hamas signed on to an Abbas-initiated ceasefire in 2004 — announced it was accepting the Prisoners’ Document, effectively beginning a ceasefire…
The document implicitly recognizes Israel and calls for a right of return…[which leaves] open the possibility that [it] would be limited to a Palestinian state that would be established in the 1967 borders. The document calls for armed resistance to the occupation to be limited to the occupied territories — and Islamic Jihad’s announcement apparently means it will cease firing Qassams into Israel: that, in any case, was the army’s interpretation, halting its artillery shelling of Gaza’s ‘Qassam launching zones,’ shelling that has been almost constant since it began months ago in response to the rocket attacks.
Jerusalem Post also runs this story.
If Rosenberg is right, then this is potentially big news. Islamic Jihad has been the most significant militant group maintaining a purely rejectionist stance toward Israel. It has conducted almost all the terror attacks since Hamas began its hudna. It would mean that essentially every Palestinian militant group has now endorsed the Prisoner’s Document (except Hamas and possibly the Popular Resistance Committees). And while Hamas as a group hasn’t endorsed the Document, its most prominent prisoner did collaborate in creating it and signed it. This causes no end of consternation among the Hamas rejectionists in Damascus and Gaza.
If the news is borne out, then it is good on several levels. Most imminently, it is good because both the Qassam attacks and Israel’s murderous counter barrages will end. Second, it is good because this puts the Hamas rejectionists even more on the defensive. Third, it gives Abbas some added support in his battle to get Hamas’ agreement to the plan. Fourth, it gives Ehud Olmert and the Israeli Nyetniks (‘nyet’ to Abbas and final status negotiations, ‘nyet’ to Hamas, etc.) one less argument to use against negotiating a peace agreement with Mahmoud Abbas. An Israel not under threat of rocket barrage is an Israel which may take more seriously Abbas’ pleas for Olmert to see him as a legitimate partner for peace. Fifth, IJ’s agreement to the plan forces the international community (including the U.S.) to realize that we are now coming to a decisive moment in the struggle for peace. If Israel’s worst enemy among the Palestinian militants is willing to honor a ceasefire (and let us hope that this is the case), the rest of the world must recognize that the tectonic plates of this conflict are shifting. Will the world take advantage of this to force those plates (i.e. the parties) together or will it stand by and let them continue to drift helplessly?