World Must Oppose Hamas-Backed Government
Pope Francis tried spiritually to revive the stalled Middle East peace process on Sunday by holding a prayer meeting at the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
We hope their prayers rose directly to God’s ears; the Arab-Israel conflict is at a dangerous and uncertain point and could use all the prayers in the world. We mustn’t, however, let the good feelings generated by the meeting cloud our judgment about the fundamentals of the situation.
The peace process foundered because Abbas signaled that he does not want a negotiated peace with Israel; he wants the international community to hand him a state of Palestine on a platter.
U.S.-sponsored peace talks broke down two months ago because of two unilateral moves on the part of Abbas: his surprise signing of more than a dozen international conventions, and his unfortunate announcement of a unity pact of his Fatah faction with Hamas, the force behind the terrorist regime in Gaza. Last week, that pact led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government backed by Hamas, which has never renounced terrorism and is sworn to destroy the Jewish State. Israel has stated that it will not negotiate with the new government. But unfortunately, the United States has said it will deal with the new government – even though America and many other nations designate Hamas as a terrorist group.
Last week, we called on the United States to withhold recognition and funding of the Hamas-backed unity government.
While the new Palestinian government supposedly consists of technocrats and not the armed radicals who dominate Palestinian politics, it will only serve to strengthen Hamas, which has never reformed itself and declares that it has no plans to do so. The regime in Gaza rules by terror, exports terror (including attacks on American and Western targets), and rains down rockets on Israel. Hamas had been reeling because of its support for the now-deposed Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi. After Morsi’s removal, the Egyptian government closed off the smuggling tunnels that secured Hamas’ livelihood. Now, Abbas has thrown Hamas a lifeline.
“Palestinian reconciliation aims to unite the Palestinian people against the prime enemy, the Zionist enemy. It aims to pursue the choice of resistance and steadfastness,” Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, said last week, using code words for continuing terrorism against Israel.
The United States and all other peace-loving nations should refuse to work with and fund this terrorist-backed entity.
Ronald S. Lauder is president of the World Jewish Congress. This article first appeared on his blog at worldjewishcongress.org.