On Monday, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas let the cat out of the bag again. In the presence of Qatar’s rabidly anti-Israel Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa, and alongside Hamas’s exiled Politburo chief, Khaled Meshal, Abbas’s Fatah party signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, paving the way for the formation of a Palestinian unity government. With the stroke of a pen, Abbas’s prior assertion that “there are no more differences between [Fatah and Hamas]” was sanctified. Abbas officially considers as a primary Palestinian aim the annihilation of Israel.
And to alleviate all doubt (or misplaced hope), when asked the next day whether the reconciliation agreement would “moderate” Hamas, Political Bureau member Izzat al-Rishq declared: “The Palestinian people maintain their right to all forms of resistance, and we are committed to armed resistance…to confront the…Zionist enemy’s plans.” Abbas is now openly complicit in this murderous endeavor.
As for the so-called “international community,” the response was relatively muted.
A spokesman at the US mission in Tel Aviv said the Obama administration would not articulate a “formal position on a speculative event,” but rather would “wait to see what happens.”
If only Israel’s “speculative” approval of the construction of a few hundred houses in its capital city drew such remarks.
Surprisingly, the EU also refrained from assuming an official stance. However, given the EU’s reaction in November following a previous round of reconciliation talks—“[the EU has] consistently called for reconciliation under Abbas’ authority”—no doubt the Europeans still consider Hamas’s inclusion in Palestinian politics as “an opportunity rather than a threat,” as well as, incredibly, and without justification, “essential for securing a lasting peace with Israel.”
Less surprising was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s message to Abbas: Fatah’s reconciliation with a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction should not be viewed as contradictory or mutually exclusive from negotiating with the Jewish state. In a twisted sense, Ki-moon is correct. Abbas’s partnership with genocidal Hamas will in no manner affect his policy of rejecting direct negotiations with Israel.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left little to the imagination: “Hamas is a terrorist organization that strives to destroy Israel, and which is supported by Iran. I have said many times in the past that the Palestinian Authority must choose between an alliance with Hamas and peace with Israel. Hamas and peace do not go together.… If Abu Mazen [Abbas] implements what has been signed, he will have chosen to abandon the way of peace[.]”