CORRECTION: I mistakenly read the linked article to state that the Hamas proposal accepts an Israeli state in 1967 borders, when it actually accepts a Palestinian state in 1967 borders.
Pan-Arab media has reported that Hamas has been rewriting its Charter. Purported changes would accept a Palestinian state within 1967 border. They would also eliminate offensive statements blaming Jews for oppressing the Palestinians. It would also renounce Hamas’ former bond with the Muslim Brotherhood.
If Hamas does revise its Charter to reflect these changes it would mean that it tacitly accepts a two-state solution. Though it would not be formally accepting or recognizing Israel, it would be accepting a Palestinians state that does not incorporate Israel. In effect, it renounces a one-state solution, which for decades has been the platform of both Hamas and the anti-Zionist left.
This is odd since there never has been less chance of realizing a tw0-state solution than the present. The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is moribund. With Israel’s extremist government and the new U.S. president, the region hasn’t been farther away from a peace deal in ages. Of course, these changes will be important once a more pragmatic U.S. government takes office. But that’s not likely to be for another four years at least. So the timing of this appears a bit strange.
But there are other political developments moving this rapprochement forward. Most focus on Hamas-Egyptian relations. There are several important things each side seeks from the other: first, Hamas is being strangled by the siege from both the Israel and Egyptian sides. If Egypt would relieve the blockade the Gaza economy would markedly improve and offer huge political benefits to Hamas by offering relief to Gazans.
Egypt faces an enormous internal security threat from Islamists roaming the Sinai who’ve killed hundreds of police and army personnel. Coptic Christians were killed in the most recent attack. Until recently, because Hamas’ sole form of income was the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, it would permit the free flow of arms and militants from its side to the Egyptian. From there, according to media reports, the terrorists would enter Egypt and engage in acts of terror in Sinai. If Egypt can shut off this source of men and munitions, it might eliminate or drastically reduce the Sinai terror threat.
How will this affect Egypt-Israel relations? Israel has an exceedingly close relationship with the military junta. It has attacked Sinai militants on Egyptian soil on behalf of the al-Sisi regime. It shares intelligence information on such threats as well. Israel hates Hamas. Therefore, Israel cannot welcome this reconciliation. I’m curious how it will respond to these overtures.
If I told you the number of times such promising developments were announced, only to have them come to naught, you’d wouldn’t believe me. So all this may end up amounting to nothing. Or if this is realized, it could portend a major thawing in relations between Hamas and the outside world. For example, the EU might reconsider Hamas’ listing as a terrorist organization. This, in turn, would further isolate the U.S. and Israel as the rejectionists when it comes to dialogue with the Palestinians.
@Richard, this is a classic case of “motivated reasoning”, which leads you to misrepresent and misreport what Hamas has said.
They specifically state that they accept the 67 borders as the BASIS of a PALESTINIAN state, not for Israel, and do not renounce claims for all of Palestine.
This is explicit and clear from your NY Times link as well as Haaretz
So your wishful thinking is twofold– once for believing that Hamas will actually carry out this change in policy, and once for misinterpreting their words.
This is not simply non-recognition of Israel, as you stated. They do not recognize the 67 borders for Israel. This means they would temporarily accept a Palestinian state in 67 borders, only to continue the struggle.
You should correct your story.
And, I might add, that the newly elected leader of Hamas in Gaza, is a hardliner, who’s been blacklisted by the United States for his terrorism.
They specifically state that they accept the 67 borders as the BASIS of a PALESTINIAN state
Isn’t that enough? What do you want from them? To fall on their knees +kowtow?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Yehuda: I did misread the article & have corrected the post. But you are wrong about whether Hamas has “renounced claims for all of Palestine.” By accepting a Palestinian state within 67 borders it is definitely renouncing “all of Palestine.” And even if it wasn’t, how pray tell would Hamas conquer all of Palestine? With its WMDs? F-16s? Cluster bombs? Chemical weapons? All of which Israel has and Hamas doesn’t.
There is no mention either explicitly or implicitly that Hamas would “continue armed struggle” after it achieved a Palestinian state in 67 borders.
Israel is actually quite happy with Hamas ruling Gaza – if Hamas ceases attempts to act beyond Gaza and gets along with Israel and Egypt – even if only with a tacit understanding with Israel, then most Israeli politicians would be ecstatic with this development.
Richard Silverstein says
Yeah, about as happy as a terminally ill patient is to know he has cancer.
If you mean that Hamas should stop resistance against Israel, then you have only to recognize Israel within 67 borders, as Hamas has done regarding a Palestinian state in 67 borders. Then Hamas resistance would cease.
RE: “Israel hates Hamas.” ~ R.S.
MY QUESTION: Is this essentially some kind of self-hatred?
SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2009
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html
I was told time and again the changes made in 2006 were enough to show Hamas is a great partner for peace. Why are any additional changes required?
So, yes, until there is a recognition of Israel, most Israelis will view it as smoke and mirror.
Richard Silverstein says
@Jim: I don’t know who told you that & what they told you. But Israel is fully responsible for Hamas’ existence & behavior. Israel helped found Hamas. It refused to accept Hamas’ ekection victory. Israel placed Gaza under siege. Israel provoked Hamas attacks in response to Israeli violations of ceasefires.
Hamas will recognize Israel when Israel recognizes Hamas as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian ppl.
[comment deleted: comments will not be published here which convey blatantly false statements masquerading as fact.]