The clock is ticking towards the self-imposed deadline for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas to agree on the terms of their latest attempt at unholy matrimony.
If they actually manage to form a unity government this time around, they plan to hold presidential and parliamentary elections within six months.
But don’t worry, says PA President Mahmoud Abbas. There’s nothing to stop the new “technocratic” government from pursuing a peace deal with Israel based on a two-state solution.
Is there anyone out there who really believes this?
Let’s pretend for a moment that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority were once potential partners for peace.
Let’s also pretend that, despite glorifying suicide bombers, paying imprisoned terrorists salaries based on how many Israeli lives they destroyed and teaching an entire generation of kids to aspire to killing Jews, Abbas and his cronies really just want to make nice with Israel.
Then, why would they join forces with an organization that is based on the religious belief that all Jews must be destroyed?
Hamas is not a political movement or a nationalist movement. It is a religious-based movement whose charter is explicitly and unequivocally grounded in the harshest and most extreme interpretations of Islamic law.
Article 7 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: “The prophet (Muhammad) said, ‘The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry, O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!’”
According to Hamas, all of Palestine – which includes what we know as Israel – is an Islamic waqf (trust) “throughout all generations and to the day of Resurrection” (Article 11). It cannot be divided by anyone other than Allah – which means Hamas cannot adhere to any “man-made” agreement involving new borders or land swaps, nor can it ever truly recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Furthermore, “the liberation of Palestine is an individual duty, binding on Muslims everywhere” (Article 13).
Hamas has made it clear that it has no intention of giving up its armed struggle, recognizing Israel or abiding by past peace agreements.
Indeed, the Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports that the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has just released a propaganda video that warns Israelis to go back to their “country of origin” – it specifies Russia and Germany – or prepare to die (www.tinyurl.com/l8tze26).
Hamas’s closest ties have been with the Muslim Brotherhood, which masquerades as a religious social organization, but ultimately aims to bring about world Islamic domination.
The ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and subsequent collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, however, plunged Hamas and Gaza into economic crisis.
So Hamas is desperate for a new ally – one with deep pockets. Better yet, if Hamas is free from the burden of actually governing Gaza, it can go back to planning global jihad and trying to murder Israelis.
And Abbas, at age 79, can say he was the leader who reunited the Palestinian people.
It’s all pretty cozy – except for the thorny issue of where the money is going to come from.
The United States gives the Palestinian Authority about $400 million a year. But U.S. law prohibits funding for “assistance to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member.”
Then again, the U.S. Congress has tried repeatedly to restrict aid to the Abbas government – largely because of its continued teaching of hatred in schools and its continued glorification of terror and terrorists – but President Barack Obama has consistently used his veto to let the money through.
So it doesn’t always matter what U.S. law says, especially if Abbas can convince Obama that, without continued U.S. support, his “moderate” regime will collapse and Hamas will fill the power vacuum.
Don’t expect Hamas to change a word of its charter, but look out for lots of parsing and quibbling about what it means for Hamas to “recognize” Israel.
Abbas, for example, told then-U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in 2006 that the Palestinian finance minister had to “recognize” the Israeli finance minister in order to receive transfer payments from Israel.
Expect Abbas and Hamas to profess that Hamas isn’t literally part of the new government of apolitical “technocrats,” who will supposedly focus on domestic issues rather than diplomatic policy.
There’s one thing these erstwhile enemies can always agree on, however. When it all blows up, it will be Israel’s fault.