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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Palestinian Unity Breakthrough? Not so Fast....

Over at the Captain's Quarters, the Captain reports on what purports to be a 'Palestinian unity breakthrough.'
Fatah and Hamas have proposed a platform which would bring both factions into the government and allow for meaningful talks with Israel on a two-state solution, the AP reports this morning. Leaders of both groups imprisoned by Israel for terrorism conducted the delicate negotiations, and the product has been embraced by Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of Fatah, while the Hamas leadership in the West Bank and Gaza study it.

The negotiations took place between Fatah's Marwan Barghouti and Hamas' Abdel Khaleq Natche in the Israeli penitentiary Hadarim Prison, where both serve long sentences for their terrorist activity in Israel. Barghouti has tremendous cachet with the Palestinians and had been drafted for the position Abbas won handily even though Barghouti was imprisoned. It caused a diplomatic stir during the presidential elections when Israel refused to release Barghouti, even if he won. Less is known about Natche, who at one time led Hamas in Hebron. Whether he has enough influence to negotiate on behalf of the entire Hamas organization -- which has chapters all over the Middle East -- remains to be seen.

The agreement itself seems designed to address Western objections to the Hamas government in a substantial manner. It acknowledges Israel and recasts the struggle in terms of the 1967 occupation instead of the existence of Israel altogether. It explicitly accepts the two-state solution and calls for negotiation with Israel on determining the final border between Palestine and Israel. While it does not renounce violence, it specifically focuses its "resistance" to the disputed territories in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Captain then goes on to say that the agreement "gives hope for a return to negotiation, perhaps this time with a chastened Hamas and ascendant Fatah."

Sorry Captain, but I think that's wishful thinking on your part.

My first thought when I read this story was that Yasser Arafat said lots of nice words too in 1988 and in 1993 and what he said in English for western consumption was not what he was saying in Arabic for his 'people's' consumption. And we all know at the end of the day which words reflected Arafat's true intentions. As an Israeli, it's going to take a lot more than words to get me to trust Marwan the Murderer, let alone Hamas.

But I don't even have to object to this plan, because Hamas has already done that for me:
A senior Hamas official rejected outright on Thursday a peace initiative proposed by former Fatah-Tanzim head Marwan Barghouti, in which he accepted the 1967 lines as borders of a future Palestinian state.

The imprisoned leaders proposed however, that any agreement with Israel must be brought before the Palestinian Legislative Council for approval by all Palestinian parties, or be submitted for a referendum.

The document also stressed the right of return for all Palestinian refugees.

So there are four problems with this 'agreement':

1. The chances of a referendum on a peace agreement with which Israel can live being passed by the 'Palestinians' are slim, and the chances of 'all Palestinian parties' approving an agreement with Israel are none.

2. The "right of return for all 'Palestinian refugees'" is a non-starter even for the most leftist Israelis. The leftists would allow some to 'return.' The rest of us recognize that the 'right of return' is just another way for destroying the State of Israel demographically. It wouldn't be a Jewish state anymore.

3. Mere words from the 'Palestinians' just don't cut it any more. Especially after five years of suicide bombings and other terror attacks.

4. Hamas has rejected it anyway.

But I enjoy your blog Captain, and hope to come around more often.


At 11:49 PM, Blogger Lars Johansson said...

"It wouldn't be a Jewish state anymore." Who cares? Ethnic cleansing mustn't pay, nowhere. So start to make your mind prepared for new neighbours! Make a cake!


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