It would be nice indeed if Israel could welcome the April 23 unity pact between the PLO and Hamas and look forward to engaging in serious negotiations toward a mutually beneficial peace agreement that will incidentally render the blockade of Gaza unnecessary.
It would be even nicer if the pact included essential conditions without which the above cannot occur, like requiring that Hamas cancel the objectionable clauses in its charter and that its leaders recant the threatening statements they continue to make, so that Israel may eagerly look forward to serious negotiations toward peace for all peoples in this troubled land.
Let’s hope that this will happen, but until then, unfortunately, we have to face facts.
Hamas was not a party to the body that was granted observer status as a non-member state of the UN on November 29, 2012. And it is doubtful that resolution A/67/L.28 would have passed if Hamas, that has been declared a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and others had been a party to the application made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who claimed he was acting on behalf of the PLO, which he described as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The unity pact between the PLO and Hamas changes the situation fundamentally and raises many questions that need to be clarified as soon as possible. The UN organizations that have received membership applications from the PA will now have to ask for new applications from the PLO/Hamas entity. And of course the UN cannot credibly avoid suspending the status that has been granted to the PLO until Hamas reverses its rejection of fundamental clauses of the relevant UN resolution and until both Hamas and the PLO resolve the dispute about who is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
This is essential since Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has declared publicly that he does not accept Abbas’ claim that the PLO is the legitimate representative.
On February 11, 2012, Al Arabiya reported that, addressing 30,000 Iranians alongside then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Haniyeh declared that it was he who he spoke as the representative of the Palestinian people and that Hamas will never recognize Israel.
On November 24, 2012, The New York Times reported, “In a sermonlike speech laced with Koranic verses, the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, promised on Thursday [November 22] to establish an independent state on all Palestine land, foreboding words from the leader of an organization whose charter prophesies Israel’s elimination.”
On December 8, 2012, in a speech described as fiery by the BBC, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, with Haniyeh at his side, categorically rejected and contradicted the fundamental fourth clause of the UN resolution which refers to a State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel. He told a cheering crowd that Palestinians will not cede any part of their land and that there is no legitimacy for Israel, thus emphasizing Hamas’ objective of ruling over all of Israel from the Jordan to the sea.
Article 13 of the Hamas Charter clearly states that so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to its principles. Consequently any entity that includes and is likely to be ruled by Hamas in its present character cannot be eligible for membership in the UN or any of its organizations until Hamas changes its stated objectives and its pro-terrorist attitude, as manifested when Haniyeh condemned the US for killing Osama bin Laden.
As recently as April 13, Haniyeh praised a terrorist shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded his wife and son and two others as they drove to a Passover Seder. Encouraging further violence, Haniyeh warned of more attacks to come in the Palestinian territory and said this attack “brought back life to the path of resistance against Israel.”
On January 24, 2011, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Egyptian government had “conclusive proof” that an al-Qaida- linked Palestinian terrorist group orchestrated the New Year’s Day bombing outside a Coptic Christian church that killed 25 worshipers. Interior Minister Habib Adly blamed the attack on an extremist organization based in the Gaza Strip.
Most disturbing about the integration of Hamas with the PLO is the news that the Snowden leaks revealed evidence that Hamas and other terror groups are infiltrating the CIA. On September 2, 2013, The Washington Times reported that terrorist groups work hard to infiltrate America’s top security agencies and that the groups most often cited as attempting to infiltrate the US intelligence network were al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Let’s hope that with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s assistance the essential changes will be made so that a mutually satisfactory treaty can be consummated that will lead to peaceful coexistence between Israel and all its neighbors.