The PLO-Hamas Reconciliation

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


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This week an Israeli and a Palestinian negotiator, along with envoys of the Middle East Quartet, met in Amman. Don’t get your hopes up. It was the merest gesture to deflect diplomatic pressure, and what is actually brewing in the Palestinian arena has nothing to do with peace.

Fatah official Mahmoud al-Aloul said as much the day after the meeting—in a speech he gave on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Al-Aloul proclaimed: “The Palestinian leadership has spared no effort to seek peace and has complied with all [peace] initiatives. But all our efforts have been in vain…. The Israelis are not prepared for any solutions.”

And added: “We can’t restrain ourselves any longer in the face of settlement construction. The popular resistance will erupt in the next phase.”

It wasn’t just rhetoric. Al-Aloul’s threat jibes with recent reports by DEBKAfile and Khaled Abu Toameh. The picture these reports give has also been confirmed to me by a highly reliable source.

The picture is this: the “Arab Spring” sweeping the region has not left the Palestinian arena unaffected. Abbas thinks it will sweep him away, too, unless he joins forces with the Palestinian Islamist factions—principally Hamas but also Islamic Jihad. He aims to do that by, for the first time in history, incorporating at least Hamas in his relatively secular PLO. That way when the “Arab Spring” comes to the West Bank, Abbas hopes it will be directed against Israel instead of what’s left of his weakening rule.

To these ends Abbas already signed a reconciliation pact with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on December 24. That will help him, in DEBKA’s telling, “orchestrat[e] an Arab Spring-style uprising on the West Bank….” DEBKA predicts, though, that Abbas’s Palestinian Authority “will soon lose control as Hamas and [Islamic Jihad] ride into the enclave’s towns and villages. Any demonstrations will soon get out of hand and descend into violent turmoil.”

Abu Toameh concurs if in slightly less dramatic terms, writing that “in 2012, if [Hamas’s] agreement with Abbas is implemented, [it] will take control over the PLO.” He adds:

Hamas is joining the PLO not because it has changed, but out of a desire to make the Fatah-dominated organization stick to its true mission: the liberation of Palestine from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea—in other words, all the land that is currently Israel—and to achieve the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to their original villages and homes inside Israel.

Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements and understandings reached between the organization and Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel.

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  • Shalom Freedman

    This is excellent analysis but I would add a further question. What is Israel's response likely to be outbreaks of West Bank violence? At the back of this question is another question that of the total attack on Israel by Hamas, Hizbollah, Fatah, Iran, and perhaps most ominously even Egypt, and even worse Turkey? Is their some rapid devastating response Israel can make before the dominoes of violence against her throughout the Middle East fall upon us.

    • FriendofGaryCooper

      To answer your question, yes there is–Israel can strike Iran's budding nuclear capability, and disable it. But Netanyahu is perhaps playing for time, hoping somehow that sanctions against Iran's central bank will serve to make them abandon their nuclear program. Why else is Israel holding back? (Besides the fact that they don't want war and the massive casualties that will result.)

  • UCSPanther

    I wonder how long it will be before they go back to infighting amongst themselves. Fatah and Hamas always seemed to have friction between them even at the best of times.

  • WildJew

    Toameh wrote: "Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements and understandings reached between the organization and Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel…."

    This is good, is it not? Why should we pretend there is this on-going phony peace process, when there is no such thing? Netanyhu, by pretending there is a peace process, only invites further international, especially American, pressure on Israel to make concessions. Hamas jihadists are more honest and forthright than Fatah jihadists. Both are committed to Israel's obliteration. Honesty is better than deception.

    • aspacia

      Wildone,

      According to the Settler Media, Arutz, the US is stationing more troops in Israel because of Iran threatening Hormuz. This concerns me because RP will have a field day with this information, and Israel also allowed Rome in to mediate internal problems, and the country was decimated.

      • alan g

        There are no troops in Israel. There are marines on naval vessels in the region.

        • aspacia
          • WilliamJamesWard

            Interesting but I think as a Christian supporter of Israel and one who_sees Jerusalem as the eternal City of God I would do all I could to _help keep the evil out…………………………………………William

          • aspacia

            William JW,

            There are many important religious cities, and only recently has Jerusalem been returned to Jews. We both support Israel, but for different reasons. Our troops are there to protect the Strait.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      The so called peace process is a farce and makes a mockery of truth,
      it is time to stand up for truth and not live in a false and pretentious world.
      William

  • Brujo Blanco

    No country can trust terrorists. Terrorist groups do no trust each other. Obama is making a mistake reaching out to any terrorist organization.

  • Marty

    None of this is very new. The peace process has been dead for years and should remain that way. Its demise occurred when Israelis understood that the palestinian thugs disagreed only on how to best destroy Israel. In time, hamas and fatah will blame each other for the lack of progress in murdering Jews and resume killing one another. That is not a bad thing and should be encouraged by all those who wish to preserve the only enclave of democracy and progress in the Middle East.

    • PAthena

      I believe that the American Friends Service Committee invented the term "peace process," to substitute for "war." There is no such thing as a "peace process," only war with victory or negotiations.

  • Makaro

    Oba 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
    Oba 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

  • PAthena

    Those Arabs who destroyed the World Trade Center on 9/11, as well as the Pentagon, and were on United 93 which the patriotic passengers destroyed in Shanksville, PA, before it could crash into a building in Washington, D.C., came from Saudi Arabia. Yet one of President Obama's first acts as president, after he had returned the bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain, was to bow before the King of Saudi Arabia.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    PLO, Hamas will become the dust of yesterday soon enough……………William

  • Fred Dawes

    Israel has 400 H-Bombs.