The peace farce is officially dead. It was a peace farce which saw Israel make every concession, engage in unilateral withdrawals, recognize the authority of the Palestinians over specific territories–and in return, receive nothing–not one Palestinian concession for peace.
Yesterday, Fatah and Hamas signed a ‘reconciliation’ agreement. It might better be called a “Hamas Victory” agreement. This agreement calls for an interim government to be established run by “neutral” Palestinians leaders leading to elections in about a year–elections that (if Hamas allows them to ever take place) will almost certainly be won by Hamas in the West Bank.
One of the reasons that Hamas will win is that the agreement specifies a complete release of prisoners on both sides–with the real effect being that Hamas activists will have free rein in the West Bank. More than this, Hamas will ‘share’ in security arrangements in the West Bank. This means that whatever cooperation existed between Palestinian security forces and Israeli forces will cease (it may also mean that anarchy will return to the West Bank as security territories are carved up).
And Hamas is now running the show. Mahmoud al-Zahar said yesterday that Hamas does not recognize Israel, will not conduct peace talks with “the Zionist entity”, will not change its charter that calls for the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel, and will not recognize any agreements made in the last two decades by the Palestinian Authority.
For his part, Mahmoud Abbas has been completely neutered. To whomever would listen yesterday, he kept saying “Hamas is part of the Palestinian people. I cannot ignore them. They are a part of us and Netanyahu is our partner. We don’t want to choose between the two.”
“Netanyahu is our partner?” Unbelievable. Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israel for one second since Netanyahu took office. “We don’t want to chooose between the two.” Unbelievable. That is precisely what Abbas has done–he has chosen the road of Hamas. It is a road that Netanyahu and Israel will not share.