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For Israel, Hamas is a red herring to avoid peace

Every argument Israel puts forward as to why Palestinian reconciliation would defeat the prospects of peace is hypocrisy. In reality, Israel doesn't want peace

Khalid Amayreh , Monday 9 May 2011
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Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have nearly lost all composure over the recently-reached reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas.

Some Israeli officials went as far as warning that Palestinian national unity was an ultimate red line for Israel. Some of the more jingoistic elements within the Netanyahu government, arguably the most hawkish in Israel's history, demanded the immediate "reoccupation" of the West Bank, as if the territory was anything but occupied anyway.

Israel's president, Shimon Peres, the "hero" of the Qana massacre in South Lebanon in 1996, said the restoration of Palestinian national unity made the prospects of peace in the region more distant. The elderly Zionist didn't explain further. However, one doesn't have to be a particularly astute to understand that what Peres really meant was that reconciliation between the two largest political camps on the Palestinian arena would make the Palestinian people more resistant to Israeli repression and less willing to renounce their inalienable rights usurped by Israel.

In brief, Peres felt that Palestinian reconciliation would strengthen the Palestinians' bargaining position vis-à-vis Israel. The more irate but equally duplicitous Netanyahu called on the international community to reject and denounce the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal, ignoring the fact that Palestinian national unity is nobody's business but the Palestinians.

Ehud Barak, who bears on his hands rivers of Palestinian blood, warned that Israel wouldn't negotiate with Hamas if the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement didn't stop "terror". He and other Zionist leaders threatened to use an "arsenal of reprisals" against the Palestinians to force them to remain divided and in deference to Israel's interests.

In this article I will try to refute and demolish all Israeli arguments objecting to Palestinian reconciliation, including the possible inclusion of Hamas in a prospective national unity government.

Israel claims that it can't negotiate with Hamas since the latter doesn't recognise the "legitimacy" of Israel. Well, Hamas, whether inside or outside any Palestinian government, won't take part in the so-called peace negotiations that are solely the responsibility of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Hamas is not a member of the PLO. Moreover, Israel has been negotiating with an often pliant PLO for nearly 20 years and the net result has been zero, as proclaimed by PLO official Ahmed Qurei. Hence, one would have to be extremely naïve to buy the Israeli argument that Palestinian reconciliation would significantly impede any genuine resumption of peace negotiations.

Israel also claims that since Hamas indulges in "terror," which is in reality nothing more than legitimate and legal resistance to occupation, a right protected by international law, Israel can't deal with any Palestinian government comprising, inter alia, of Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel claims for itself the right to continue stealing Palestinian land and ethnically cleansing the indigenous Palestinians, all contrary to international law.

Again, Israel's argument is mendacious and dishonest. Hamas has maintained the tahdia, or calm, in the Gaza Strip in the face of murderous Israeli provocations and often at the expense of strong active opposition from a number of resistance factions. Hamas is still painstakingly observing calm in the Strip. However, instead of receiving recognition, the Islamic liberation group has been vilified and demonised, in addition, of course, to being directly targeted in campaigns of assassination and war.

A third point. Israel continues to refuse, adamantly, to recognise a prospective Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem while it demands that Hamas recognise Israel. Where is the reciprocity on which negotiations could even be conceivable? This is beyond chutzpah.

As a point of fact, the PLO recognised Israel in 1993 as part of the infamous Oslo Accords, even without obtaining a mutual Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state. Instead of taking this unilateral recognition of Israel by the PLO as an expression of goodwill, Israel continued to build settlements, demolish Arab homes and steal more Palestinian land, rendering the goal of establishing a viable Palestinian state unrealistic and now virtually impossible.

In other words, Israel would like to see Hamas make the same blunder that the PLO committed and that cost the Palestinian people dearly.

Furthermore, Israel continues to refuse to define its borders. Hence, one really wonders how, under such circumstances, any state or quasi-state would be able — practically speaking — to recognise an amorphous entity next door without fixed borders!

Finally, Israel argues that it would be impossible to reach peace with a government (a Palestinian one) that includes extremist parties. In making such spurious arguments, the Israeli government exposes itself, being comprised almost entirely of fanatical extremists. The present Israeli government is not only the most hawkish government in the Zionist state's history; it is also a government of settlers, by the settlers, for the settlers.

This hypocrisy on the part of the Israeli government must not be allowed to go unnoticed by the international community, especially by those honest and conscientious elements within Western governments.

In this light, the world should dismiss Israeli ranting about Palestinian reconciliation for what it really is; namely, a ludicrous and cynical attempt to invoke the mantra of Hamas in order to avoid and evade real peace in Palestine, a peace that would consign to history Israeli apartheid, fascism and Nazism.

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