Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hamas joins the PLO

It was announced after much negotiation that Fatah and Hamas have agreed that Hamas will join the PLO. What this means is unclear, although it doesn't amount to much. The PLO is moribund, it was considered the umbrella organization of the Palestinian national movement and contained about a dozen organizations, of which Fatah was the largest. Because Fatah has taken over control of the PA, the PLO has for a dozen years in effect been relegated to a cipher. Now suddenly, because they can't agree to merge, Hamas, that was the enemy of the PLO, has now agreed to join it. This agreement is supposed to heal the schism between Fatah and Hamas, but of course it does no such thing, it simply leaves them separate, but both members of an overall organization, that currently is a shell. As the Hamas FM said yesterday "Anyone who thinks that Hamas has changed its positions and now accepts the PLO's defeatist programs is living in an illusion."

Nevertheless, this agreement has significant implications. It means for Israel that Fatah/PLO have embraced Hamas, that is dedicated to Israel's destruction. Only last week, at the 25th anniversary celebrations of Hamas in Gaza, bloodcurdling speeches were made by Hamas leaders against Israel, including the glorifying of suicide bombers and the threat to destroy Israel and kill all Jews. If this organization is in the PLO and is co-equal with Fatah, Israel can no longer negotiate with Fatah over the fate of a Palestinain State.
It puts into question the whole idea of direct negotiations and a two-state solution, if the Palestinian side is partnered with a terrorist organization dedicated to destroying one of the states, namely Israel.

There is also the element of a "trick" in this maneuver, since the PLO is supposed to have recognized Israel as a State (although not a Jewish State) and if Hamas is under that umbrella they might be able to avoid actually making the commitment that the Quartet requires, without actually saying anything. However, they must also renounce terrorism and accept previous agreements, something that surely Hamas cannot do. So we shall see how they wriggle out of that. But, now is a transition period for Hamas, since their leadership has moved from Damascus (rats leaving a sinking ship) to Cairo, where they expect a more conducive regime. Perhaps this agreement to join the PLO is related to their move.

UNESCO, that now includes "Palestine" among its members even though Palestine is not a recognized state, has been giving funds to support publications of the PA. One of these, a teenage magazine named Zayzafouna, was found to contain anti-Israel articles, one of which glorified Hitler and supported killing of Jews. When this was brought to the attention of UNESCO they stopped the funding for this publication.. But, all the text books of the PA are anti-Israel and extort hatred and violence. They are funded by grants from the EU and its constituent countries, who are aware of this but do nothing about it. As far as they are concerned the PA can teach its children what they like, even while the same countries criticize Israel for its policies. Hamas, of course, glorifies suicide bombers and the killing of Jews (a Muslim precept) in their schools. If Fatah and Hamas unify, neither of them will have to change their textbooks.


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