By Joel C. Rosenberg
The leaders of the beleaguered Palestinian people chose to embrace terrorists today, not the road to true peace, justice and reconciliation. What a tragedy. Instead of spending the last 18 months engaging in peace talks with Israel, PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas has spent the last several months engaged in secret peace talks with rival Hamas, the radical Islamic terrorist group that calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State. The talks, brokered by Egyptian intelligence, concluded with an announcement today that Fatah (PLO) and Hamas have sealed a unity agreement that some reporters are describing as “an historic reconciliation deal.”
In theory, the deal helps pave the way for the Palestinians soon to unilaterally declare a state encompassing the Fatah-controlled territory of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza, and assert their capital in East Jerusalem. They will claim that their unity signals they are ready to govern themselves and assume the responsibilities of statehood. In reality, it is a shotgun wedding, at best. Fatah and Hamas leaders have historically not only hated each other but gunned each other down in broad daylight. When Hamas took over Gaza in 2005 and 2006, it set into motion a bloodbath, killing scores of Fatah officials and party members, even throwing some off of high rise buildings.
One thing is for certain: the Palestinian leadership is taking yet another stop away from making peace with Israel. “The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told reporters. “Peace with both of them is impossible, because Hamas aspires to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly.” Netanyahu added: “Hamas fires rockets at our cities and anti-tank missiles at our children. I think the mere idea of reconciliation demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s weakness, and brings up the question of whether Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria as it did Gaza.”
What’s not clear is whether the U.S. will continue to provide some $450 million in foreign aid to the Palestinians since it officially considers Hamas a terrorist organization and has long refused to talk to Hamas much less help fund it. Members of Congress will likely be overwhelmingly opposed to any contact with Hamas, and rightly so. The Obama administration, however, will be tempted to act as though the Fatah-Hamas agreement is a positive development and try to paper over the differences. To do so would be a tragic mistake, but not the administration’s first, and not likely its last in the region.
Fatah-Hamas accord – by-product of secret Israel-Turkish talks, Syrian crisis - DEBKAfile
U.S. Congressmen call for cutting aid to a Fatah-Hamas government - Ha'aretz
UN's Serry welcomes 'overdue' Hamas-Fatah unity gov't - Jerusalem Post
Peres Rails Fatah-Hamas Agreement as 'Fatal Mistake’ - Arutz Sheva
Hamas deal forces US to rethink cash support - Sydney Morning Herald