With the buzzing news surrounding the reconciliation deal struck between Fatah and Hamas there seems to be the usual nay-sayers to a just peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. These nay-sayers include the US Congress, Lieberman, Netanyahu, and Barak, or simply the US and Israeli governments. After the signing of the unity agreement Lieberman pronounced that the world should not recognize the new government and that it is a way for Hamas to take over the West Bank. Barak said that Israel will not talk to a unity government that includes Hamas and then “moderated” his tone by saying if it renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel. Several US Congressmen and women have expressed disdain at the agreement and a possible cutting of aid to the new Palestinian government. For a viewing click here.
Lieberman’s reason for saying that Hamas would take over the West Bank is because the agreement includes releasing of political prisoners on both sides, meaning Hamas prisoners would be let free in the West Bank. Lieberman in his usual ignorant belligerence hears the word Hamas and thinks “armed terrorist,” and completely ignores the many facets of the organization which the Israelis bear responsibility for initially facilitating and arming. Hamas has many networks, the majority of which are not armed or engage in armed activity. This is one of the reasons they received such support in the poorest parts of Palestine in the 2006 elections. Hamas is not a unitary entity that simply engages in armed activity but to Lieberman and his propaganda it is. Second Lieberman of course wishes to reserve the right for Israel to engage is armed activity against Hamas and the new unity government (as all Israeli government officials desire) while declaring any resistance to this terrorism. Lieberman blatantly disregards the role of Fatah, Israel, and the US in the attempted coup in 2007 that tried to oust Hamas from its democratically elected position in Gaza. If Lieberman made a comment such as “we feel they will try to democratically take over the West Bank with their newly released prisoners” I would disagree but could see the argument. Hamas has 2/3s the support Fatah has in the West Bank with minimal infrastructure (due to US, Israeli, Fatah cooperation) to garner this new support in such a short time. It took Hamas 19 years to garner enough support to win in the elections of 2006.Lieberman’s statements can be viewed here.
Barak’s statements are as hollow as former Israeli claims pre-Oslo that the PLO do the same things. Why is it that weaker side must give up a concession just to get into negotiations while the stronger party gets to do nothing? If Hamas asked Israel to recognize it as legitimate and end the air raids that various human rights groups describe as terrorism the US and Israel would laugh, as would some EU countries. So why is it legitimate to ask the weaker party to do this? In addition Israel and the United States ask Hamas to adjust its charter towards peace, but as an article posted by me before the Likud Charter has never been asked to be reneged and in a pretty language calls for the destruction of Palestine. His statements can be found here.
Ban Ki-Moon took a more moderate approach to the reconciliation by welcoming the reconciliation but at the same time wishing that Abbas and Fatah take a leading role in future negotiations. Notice he does not mention a negation of Hamas. This is important for a couple of reasons as Ban Ki Moon knows that groups that are considered extreme more often than not moderate themselves when included in talks or reconciliation. He also knows that Fatah has more popular support than Hamas hence they should, theoretically, have a more leading role as they represent the Palestinian population more so than Hamas. His statements can be found here.
Israel instead of perpetuating the usual propaganda machine should have instead either waited it out (as a few Haaretz editorials have proclaimed) or issued immediately a more moderate tone similar to that of Ban Ki Moon as to not create a non-starter basis with an organization Israel will sooner or later have to deal with diplomatically.