No one with a clear grasp on the sad reality of a Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip
could be fooled into believing that the recent cease-fire would last
Even the speed with which Hamas was back to rearming itself for the
next round of clashes with “the Zionist entity” was hardly surprising. Just days
after the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense, the British Sunday Times
reported that Israeli satellites had spotted a ship at the Iranian port of
Bandar- Abbas loaded with long-range rockets and other military supplies
purportedly bound for Gaza via Sudan.
Slightly more surprising has been
the response of the supposedly “moderate” Fatah, the party headed by Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the single largest political party making
up the PLO confederation.
As Hamas continues to foster ties with the
dangerous Shi’ite regime in Iran (senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar bragged
Saturday that Iran would increase military and economic aid to Gazan terrorist
groups thanks to Hamas’s “victory” against Israel), Fatah has been working hard
to demonstrate solidarity with Hamas.
Last week, after the cease-fire was
signed, thousands took to the streets in Gaza calling for unity between Fatah
and Hamas. Nabil Sha’ath, the PA’s chief negotiator with Israel, visited Gaza
City during Operation Pillar of Defense.
“How glad I feel when yellow,
green, red and black flags fly together,” Sha’ath told crowds, according to the
Ma’an News Agency. Sha’ath was referring to the colors of Fatah, Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. “We must all unite and work together,” he added.
Fatah’s support for Hamas is not just declarative.
As reported by The
’s Khaled Abu Toameh, several armed groups affiliated with Fatah
that operate in the Gaza Strip bragged about firing rockets and missiles at
Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense and about fighting side-by-side with
Hamas. Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee praised Hamas and
Islamic Jihad for “deciding to die for the sake of the Gaza Strip.” Zaki added
that Abbas was not against the “resistance” in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Hamas has
come out in support of Fatah’s bid to seek statehood recognition at the UN this
week. At least that is the appearance the Fatah would like to make. Although
Hamas sources in Gaza denied it, Wafa, the official news agency of Abbas’s
government, reported that Hamas’s Gaza chief and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
called Abbas to support the UN bid.
Why would Fatah, ostensibly Israel’s
most promising and reasonable negotiating partner on the Palestinian side, do
its best to blur the differences between itself and Hamas? Because in the
distorted reality of Palestinian politics, Hamas, an anti-Semitic, reactionary
terrorist organization that tramples human rights, victimizes Gaza’s population
and oppresses women and non- Muslims, is viewed as a hero by Palestinians
because it continues to call for the destruction of Israel through any means –
including suicide bombings and the use of its civilian population as human
shields – while Fatah is considered a traitor and collaborator for agreeing –
even in principle – to talk peace with Israel.
This explains why – when
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – hundreds
of Palestinians living in Fatah-controlled places such as east Jerusalem,
Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron took to the streets in signs of joy chanting “O
Jews, the army of Muhammad is coming after you!”
Until the Palestinian people
decide to switch their energies from blind hatred for Israel and the West to
self-advancement and self-determination; until Palestinian leaders give up
violence and unilateral diplomacy and inspire their people with a vision of
peace, prosperity and reconciliation – an end to the conflict will remain
Lives will continue to be needlessly lost in pointless
military clashes. Foolish diplomatic quests leading nowhere will only push off
further the day when Palestinians and Israelis can coexist in peace.