It is clear that Hamas P.M Ismail Haniyeh traveled to many Arab countries including Iran with a shopping list. The US, EU and possibly the UN as well (although there are doubts because of the make up of the Security Council, and its anti-Israel voting trends) view Hamas as a terrorist organization. This has resulted in boycotting of funds to the Palestinian Authority. Palestine has become a boiling pot of frustration under the impotent, indecisive leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas. The path of least resistance to gain much needed funds leads to Mahmoud Ahmadinajad’s Iran. P.M. Haniyeh knows that and he arrived with a shopping list.
Haniyeh accompanied Ahmadinajad, hand in hand to various meetings, excelling in anti-Israel rhetoric to “continue the armed struggle to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”. The results of Haniyeh's posturings were pledges of $250 million to the Palestinians. The situation in Palestine is disastrous financially. The Palestinian Authority is bankrupt and civil servants can barely remember the last time they received a salary.
The unfortunate result of all this is that many Palestinians blame Israel for this situation. All the bad things happening to the Palestinian People have a blanket reason – the Israeli Occupation. The lack of funds is the fault of Israel and its US supporter. They do not wish come to terms with reality. This reality is the stubborn arrogance of Hamas never to come to terms with Israel’s existence. Hamas is a product of the occupation. This product in the end will be a divisive factor for the Palestinians, resulting in a situation close to civil war and strife between the various Palestinian factions. There are many who will accuse Israel of fomenting the situation in a “divide and rule” policy towards the Palestinians.
As far as Hamas is concerned, Israel is occupied territory since its establishment in 1948. Hamas sees it as imperative on the Palestinians to wage war on Israel to resist the occupation and Israel’s right to exist and never to reach a compromise or negotiate peace. The use of the suicide bomber is an essential part of their strategy to achieve that end. They view the Palestinian bombers as shuhada (martyrs) in their legitimate struggle for freedom from the occupation since 1948 and a Palestinian state based on Sharia (Islamic Law).
This philosophy is suicidal for the Palestinians. It will not help their cause of ever establishing a Palestinian state. Surely logic requires a different outlook! Israel is strong militarily and the time is more than overdue to come to terms with Israel’s existence. The alternative would be further Palestinian suffering and deadlock. How long can Hamas continue on this path of hate and terror? New terrorist cells motivated towards destroying Israel are established at an alarming rate. Their resilience towards a just and lasting peace in the area is phenomenal.
Now there is an outcry and shouts of the humiliation of Haniyeh at the Egyptian –Rafiah border. He had been stopped and the $35 million packed in suitcases that he was carrying was confiscated by Egyptian Forces and handed over to the Arab League. Haniyeh was allowed to enter Gaza without the Iranian money. It would be naïve indeed to presume that this money would be used for anything but financing terrorist activity against Israel. One cannot expect Israel to give the green light for Haniya’s entry into Gaza with money targeted for terrorist activity against Israel. If the money were to be used for the improvement of conditions for the Palestinians rather than Iranian and Hamas interests of provocation of terror against innocent people then the money should be allowed into Gaza for this purpose.
The Hamas-Fatah power struggle erupted into violence,as Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh was nearly killed by Fatah fire at the Gaza border. According to a report from Asharq Alawsat 15th December 2006:
“ Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah opened fired on a Hamas rally in the West Bank on Friday and firefights between the rival groups erupted in Gaza, raising fears of civil war.
The fighting intensified after the ruling Hamas faction accused a Fatah strongman and Abbas's forces of trying to kill Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas vowed to retaliate.In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas's security forces, dressed in riot gear, used clubs and rifles to beat back Hamas demonstrators before shooting broke out.Nearly 20 Hamas supporters were wounded by gunfire, according to hospital sources. Some were in critical condition.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Fatah forces fired at each other on the streets. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.
In a show of force, Hamas had deployed hundreds of heavily armed militants across Gaza City and called on Abbas to remove his presidential guard from the streets.Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan singled out by name Fatah strongman and lawmaker, Mohammed Dahlan, as being behind the shooting attack late on Thursday on Haniyeh's convoy as it was leaving the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.Dahlan said on Al Arabiya television that the accusations "are not worth answering". He blamed Hamas "gangs" for the violence, which has surged since unidentified militants shot dead three young sons of an intelligence official loyal to Abbas outside the boys' Gaza school early this week. "It (Hamas) is pouring oil on the fire ... and bears full responsibility for the escalation that may result," said Abdel-Hakim Awad, a spokesman for Fatah in Gaza”.
It is likely that the Hamas leadership does not intend to use any funds for rehabilitation of the Palestinian people who are in a crisis. Their strength lies in their hate for Israel and the West. If this were not the case, the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict would not reach such a low level of hate and bloodshed. The fantasy world of Hamas and its supporters will pave the road to further disaster for the Palestinian People. Their main strategy is to unite the Palestinian People to the lowest common denominator – hate for the “Zionist Entity” (to use a traditional anti-Israel epithet).
President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech on Saturday 16th December 2006, in which he condemned Haniyeh's behavior, murder of Palestinian children and he censured the ongoing violence. He also stated that the Qassams destroyed the dream of Gaza progress. He also said that the Hamas-assisted kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit has "cost 500 dead and 4000 wounded and thousands of ruined houses from the resulting war on Gaza." Hamas members boycotted the speech.
The speech reflects Abbas’s frustration with Hamas. He knows that if Hamas carries on with its rejectionist ideas of non-recognition of Israel, reliance and support of terror, the Palestinians will never get much needed financial assistance from the US and the EU. They will be destroying their own people. Abbas never went as far as disbanding the Palestinian Government or calling for new elections in the past. Now he is calling for new elections . Hamas threatens to boycott those elections. It remains to be seen whether Abbas will be strong enough to carry out his decision.
The various factions – the extremist Hamas and moderates of Mahmoud Abbas are now even further from a national unity government than ever before and a movement towards negotiating an end to the conflict is receding even further into the mists. The future for peace between the two sides is grim.