Saturday, June 7

Israel and Hamas-Abbas - Another Israeli Blunder?

Benjamin Netanyahu - Caricature
Benjamin Netanyahu - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)
Here we go again - not as happy as can be with the Abbas-Hamas "shaky unity" government, whose stability will remain questionable over time. The ideologies of Fatah and Hamas are poles apart. There have been so many attempts by both Palestinian groups to rapprochement. It is unlikely that this agreement between the two parties will have sufficient glue to unity.
The Netanyahu Government reaction is based on hysteria and paranoia. Any country that does not buy into Netanyahu’s rhetoric is viewed as being anti-Semitic in the Netanyahu Coalition view.
The US, with its power base waning in the Middle East, was one of the first countries and Israel's greatest friend to recognize the Abbas-Hamas Unity Government. This was followed by the EU, Russia and a host of other countries who find it expedient for their own interests to follow suit.
The frustration over the failed peace talks and the intransigence of Israel in ending the occupation are contributing factors that pushed Hamas and the PA into forming a unity government. Hamas has lost its Moslem Brotherhood patron in Egypt causing Hamas to become isolated. The new president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Assisi is not well disposed to Hamas or the Moslem Brotherhood. The smuggling tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt are blocked, forcing Hamas to seek other solutions for their isolation. The Netanyahu Government gave Hamas an opportunity by placating his right wing partners in the coalition. He achieved this by pandering to his right wing coalition members by not agreeing to end the occupation and not freezing settlement activity in the occupied territories.
Even, Tzippi Livni, Israel's negotiator has shown signs of frustration with Netanyahu who is moving from center right to extreme right in order to placate the Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home Party of Naftali Bennet). When the peace talks fail, the vacuum is filled by Hamas, who is seeking a "god-father". What better "god-father" is waiting for a unity move than Mahmoud Abbas?
Hamas is in a weakened position and its shaky unity with the PA may be good for Israel in the end despite Netanyahu and company's hackneyed paranoid mantras which does not achieve anything apart from increasing Israel's isolation. The world is tired of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the stalemate which is illegal settler friendly.
It would be in Israel's interest had Netanyahu kept a wise silence and not reacted to the Hamas-Abbas unity government. He should have adopted a wait and see attitude even though the silence would have been condemned by the extreme right wing members of his coalition. Netanyahu is more sensitive to the right wing demands than he is to world opinion. He wants the stale-mate to continue with increasing settlement activity in the occupied territories. His reaction is one of self-righteous vindictiveness and vengeful towards the US and the world at large.
Is it reasonable to expect the US to abandon the peace process because of the Abbas-Hamas agreement? Is it really so dangerous for Israel if the US continues on its path recognizing the Abbas-Hamas move? Hamas will not be involved in decision making as far as peace negotiations and agreements are concerned. Their status will be similar to the status of Hezbollah in the Lebanese Government, which has diplomatic relations with the US. There is no room for Netanyahu-style hysterical paranoia in reaching peace with the Palestinians - and certainly not accelerating building in the occupied territories as a form of an automatic reaction against the Abbas-Hamas agreement.
Netanyahu's pandering to the right-wing settlement parties in his government rather than facing reality is detrimental to Israel's interest. He must come to terms with the Abbas-Hamas reality and cease his verbal threats against Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority by threatening sanctions. It will achieve nothing. The Israel Government must share part of the blame for the failure of the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyyeh of Hamas
No matter how one views the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, we always return to the same problem - the occupation and illegal settlement expansion. The Netanyahu Government and their violent Price Tag allies are detrimental to Israel’s interests. Many will ask where Price Tag fits in. Price Tag hooligans are never arrested and if they are they are very soon released. They are the offspring of the settlers in the occupied territories. They received their education from right wing, racist rabbis of various yeshivot in Kiryat Arba, Betar Illit, Yitzhar and many other settlements where the cancer of hate for the Arabs and non-Jews is rife.

Israel’s interests would be served if the Netanyahu government would cease its negative opposition rhetoric towards the Palestinian Authority and be diplomatic. Netanyahu should disregard his right wing coalition partners and show courage. Israel will pay a large price in being isolated by countries, whose record of good relations with Israel is untarnished.
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