Current conventional wisdom, expressed
by U.S. President Obama, is that the way to solve the problem posed by the Hamas
government in Gaza is to press forward ever more urgently with the peace process. Supposedly, a peace agreement will strengthen the moderate Mahmoud Abbas
and the Palestinian Authority
and somehow make it possible to co-opt or remove the hamas
The idea is attractive, but mistaken. Hamas seized power by force. They will not relinquish power in any way other than use of force. The peace process cannot provide a path to removing Hamas, because no real peace process is possible as long as Hamas is ensconced in Gaza. By every indication, a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, if it is ever formed, will not be a partner for peace. On more than one occasion, most recently here
, Palestinian Authority officials have gone out of their way to insist that Hamas
does not have to recognize Israel or abide by the Quartet conditions in order to join the government. They do not have to agree to negotiate peace or accept a peace agreement, do not need to abandon violence, and do not need to abandon their goal of genocide of the Jewish people.
The assumption of the conventional wisdom is that the Palestinian Authority would be strengthened by concluding a peace agreement with Israel. The agreement would be accepted by the majority of Palestinians, as it would give them a state, and the Hamas
would have to go along. This assumption is groundless. The Palestinian Authority would be greatly weakened by any peace agreement that they could conclude with Israel, and the agreement would be attacked as a betrayal, not only by Hamas, but by Fatah radicals. The two-state solution is supported by a majority of Palestinians, but only provided that it includes all of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, allows for return of all Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants to Israel, and provides for an armed state. A significant portion of Palestinian opinion sees the two state solution either as a pragmatic compromise, but not "justice" and many see it as a way-station on the road to "liberating" all of Palestine. PLO ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki stated
ďIn light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology. will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine.Ē
The PLO "phased plan" for destruction of Israel is not a propaganda device of "right wing Zionists." It is stated openly by PLO representatives. It might be the opinion of only a faction, or a device to "sell" a peace agreement to the Palestinian public, but a significant proportion of Palestinians believe it.
Any agreement that does not create the conditions for destruction of Israel, namely abandonment of Jewish claims to the ancient areas of Jerusalem and acceptance of "right" of return, and any agreement that recognizes the right to self-determination of the Jewish people, will be certainly be attacked viciously. It will be attacked not only by the Hamas, but by the radical Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, by radical factions such as the DFLP and PFLP, and by European-supported NGOs like Badil. Organizations like Badil and Al-Awda have made it clear that anyone who abandons "right" of return will be considered a traitor. The attacks will not be confined to democratic discourse. The fate of traitors is considerably worse than being voted out of office.
A significant proportion of Palestinians support the government of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad not because they want peace with Israel, but because they consider that the plan of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority is a more practical way to destroy Israel than the violent Jihadist program of the Hamas. They accept the "phased program" presented by Abbas Zaki. Massive American and EU aid to the Palestinian Authority provides an additional motive, and the security forces trained by the Americans ensure that Palestinians in the West Bank will keep thinking happy thoughts if they know what is good for them. But if Abbas were to conclude an agreement that represents a reasonable compromise, allowing Israel to continue to exist and not be destroyed, this support would crumble. As long as the Hamas exists, it can easily catalyze a revolt, organized around a "national and Islamic front" similar to the strange alliance of Marxists and Islamists created by Marwan Barghouti to coordinate and expedite the terror attacks of the Second Intifada. Mahmoud Abbas is keenly aware of the Palestinian political landscape of course, and that is why the "peace process" negotiations have proceeded at a snail's pace, as indirect talks. For the Palestinian Authority, peace talks are somewhat like jumping off a very tall building. The journey is not problematic, but disastrous consequences will ensue if they ever reach the ground.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, such as it is, was never going to be easy. When the genocidal Hamas movement seized power in Gaza, it became infinitely more difficult. To remind everyone, here is a small sample of more moderate portions of the Hamas Charter:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
The ultimate goal of the Hamas is to fulfill the following prophetic vision, as they declare in their charter:
...the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Hamas is not, according to their own declaration, a likely "peace partner." Nor has their zeal for the cause abated over the years. The Hamas charter is a living document, and its ideology is expressed in daily life, in words and in actions, whether it is training children to be suicide bombers, teaching that the Jews must be destroyed, or in sermons like this one, delivered June 11, and broadcast on the Hamas' Al-Aqsa television:
Annihilation of the Jews will be Achieved by the Muslims; The Destruction of Their State Will Only be Achieved Through Islam, by Those Who Bow Before Allah; The Communist East and the Capitalist West Fear Nothing as Much as They Fear the Words 'Allah Akbar'
The problem with Hamas is not just that they are a terrorist organization. Terrorism is just a means to implement a goal. The goal of the Hamas is genocide. It is, of course. astounding that supposedly sensible people are willing to accept Hamas supporters as "peace activists" or "humanitarians," or that anyone would think that Hamas might be partners in any government that would make peace. But those points are not under discussion here. I am, for the moment, only interested in examining the possibility that the peace process could be used to oust Hamas from power or solve the problem of Gaza in another reasonable way.
Ideology and theology are matched by geopolitical positioning. Hamas has attracted the support of the Iranian Mullah regime, which has a vested interest in ensuring the failure of any American initiated venture in the Middle East, and most especially an American mediated peace. Hamas's other pillar of support is Iran's ally, Syria. Any thoughts Hamas might have of moderation would be quickly extinguished by the regimes that pull their strings. But that is a theoretical issue, since Hamas has never shown any real signs of moderation.
As long as Hamas exists, there is almost no possibility of concluding a peace agreement, as any real peace agreement would be attacked as a betrayal. Even if such an agreement were to be concluded, the state it would create would be taken over by the Hamas, in alliance with other radical groups. They would have the support of the people, since the goal of destroying Israel still is considered both legitimate and desirable. The path to peace must therefore pass through the destruction of the Hamas.
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Replies: 5 Comments
Israel is prevented from destroying Hamas today. Ironically enough, this Western insistence on keeping Hamas in power in Gaza has all but ensured a Palestinian state will not emerge in our own lifetime.
NormanF, Sunday, July 18th
I think the path to Israeli-Palestinian peace will be not long, so they should come along.
Handbags Wholesale, Thursday, July 8th
Hamas was democratically elected they did not seize power by force. It's convenient to blame Hamas for the stalled peace negotiations, the truth is the ball is in Israel's court. Stop building illegal settlements on Palestinian land and end the occupation, that would be a good start!
deb, Saturday, June 26th
Don't forget Russia's destructive role for Israel! After it two times supported Hamas (in 2005 and 2007), they met with Haled Mashal right before the flotilla incident. Also, they met with Turkey's Erdogan and signed some agreements, including coperation in "peaceful" atom.
Nadezhda Banchik, Sunday, June 20th
I don't see how it is possible to destroy the Hamas. The best Israel could hope for is to defeat Hamas militarily in such a humiliating way that their popularity will gradually decline. Which is something we failed to do in Cast Lead. And even if that was possible there is no certainty that the desired result will occur. A complete conquest of gaza could hurt the Hamas, but not destroy it. That's assuming it all doesn't end up strengthing them and weakening us.
Under the circumstances peace doesn't seem likely. So that leaves two scenarios. (a) Trying to keep things the way they are, or (b) trying to change the situation in a way that will benefit Israel even if it will not bring peace or total security or the demise of the Hamas but just improve things compared to the current situation.
We need to create a shift in reality that would make it seem as if Israel is in a border dispute with an almost independent Palestinian State, while insuring as much military flexibility, ability to deal with everyday security threats and preparedness for bigger threats, while at the same time playing along with the peace process since it is so dear to our American and Euopean allies, and appearing like the country that wants to conclude peace.
This seems impossible, but if the Hamas cannot be eliminated and peace cannot be reached, it is the only option. The other option of maintaining the status quo will result in the continued decline in Israel's position and therefore its ability to defend itself or make peace, while facilitating the continued delegitimization campaign against Israel.
Micha, Thursday, June 17th
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