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Monday, May 29, 2006

The limits of the 'reconciliation' plan

The Jerusalem Post has seen through the Palestinian Prisoners' Document. In an editorial in this morning's edition, the Post's editorial board explains how at least some Hamas members could support the document, while still being true to Hamas' position not to recognize the State of Israel:

The prisoners' statement will doubtless be used by many to claim that the Palestinians are, by declaredly seeking their statehood "on all the territories occupied in 1967," by definition simultaneously accepting Israel's right to exist within its sovereign, pre-1967 borders. Yet one does not have to read the fine print to discern that no such assertion is made here.

The prisoners' statement does not openly call for the elimination of Israel, but neither does it explicitly recognize the Jewish state, much less explicitly seek accommodation with it. Indeed, 32 years later, it does not contradict the PLO's phased plan for Israel's elimination.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that some Hamas prisoners could endorse the document, even though Hamas is officially rejecting it. As Ghazi Hamad, the spokesman for the Hamas cabinet, has said: "We're not opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders."

The Post then goes on to criticize the government for its decision to give weapons to Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's 'Presidential guard':

In such a climate, it is hard to understand why Israel would facilitate the transfer of more weapons to any party on the Palestinian side. Been there, done that, one might say.

The Oslo Agreement provided for a Palestinian "police force" of 18,000 and Israel allowing the "light" weapons for this force to go to Yasser Arafat's men. Israel later acceded to the expansion of this force to 26,000, then 30,000, all on the assumption that these forces would be used to fight terrorism. Eventually, these Palestinian forces expanded, without Israel's involvement, to 70,000.

The "presidential guard" - which, at least until recently, participated in terrorist attacks against Israelis - already numbers 1,500 to 2,000, and Abbas reportedly wants to expand it to 10,000.

No one can seriously suggest there is a shortage of weaponry or "security forces" in the PA. And no one, bitter experience has shown, can seriously express confidence that weapons that at one moment are pointed at Hamas may not the next be used to murder Israelis.

Read it all.


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