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October 18, 2017 11:01 am

Palestinian Unity Will Not Lead to Peace

avatar by Isi Leibler

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New Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar (right) attending a rally with his predecessor Ismail Haniyeh. Photo: File.

World leaders — including some of our American friends — are apparently still unwilling to face reality. They continue to delude themselves that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) can be induced into making a peace settlement — if only Israel continues to appease them and excuse their crimes.

Even more delusional is the almost universal consensus that a merger between Fatah and the more radical, genocidal Hamas is a positive step toward achieving an accommodation. Yet it is contrary to all evidence to believe that such a fusion of two evil entities can have positive consequences.

This potential merger is a result of Hamas’ concern, in the face of economic meltdown, that unless it stems the ongoing collapse — especially the dramatic reduction in electrical services inflicted by the PA, — that the terror group could suffer a domestic insurrection.

Hamas agreed that the municipal administration of Gaza would be put under the political umbrella of the PA – whatever that means. However, although border crossings will be under the supervision of the PA, Hamas leaders are adamant that security will remain entirely under their control — and that they will neither lay down their weapons, nor dismantle their military structure or merge it with the PA.

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Nor would they agree to cease building tunnels with the intent of creating terror within Israel. In fact, on the eve of the reconciliation, Hamas promoted some of the most hardened and fanatical terrorists in its ranks to key military positions. It also reiterated that it would not contemplate any accommodation with Israel.

The fusion of these two entities is likely to enable Hamas to ultimately assume control of the PA, or displace it entirely.

The duplicitous, unpopular and aging Abbas is willing to move in this direction with Hamas — his arch-enemies — in order to lay claim to representing all Palestinians. He also faces threats within his own Fatah ranks, especially from his arch-rival, Mohammed Dahlan.

Abbas also continues to adamantly insist that the right of return for the descendants of the Palestinian refugees (which would entail the end of the Jewish state) is non-negotiable.  Abbas also needs no encouragement from Hamas when it comes to spewing hatred and violence against Israel. Indeed, over the past few years, he and his administration have dramatically and brazenly intensified their incitement.

The current PA propaganda promoted in schools, mosques and the government-controlled media clearly proclaims that the ultimate objective is nothing less than Arab hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The PA persistently promotes hatred of Jews, describing them as the descendants of apes and pigs, and publishes some of the vilest Nazi-style, antisemitic caricatures.

Only recently, under pressure, has Abbas condemned a terror attack — but then he proceeded to reward the relatives of the killers for their “martyrdom” with generous state pensions.

In defiance of personal calls by many in the US Congress and President Donald Trump to cease this barbaric practice of financially rewarding killers, Abbas assured the Fatah Revolutionary Council that his administration would continue the policy of allocating salaries to the families of the Palestinian terrorists in jail — as well as those killed by Israeli forces. He said that he considered this a “moral, national, political and humanitarian obligation.” This year, more than $345 million was distributed as rewards to terrorists, comprising half of the $693 million that the PA receives in foreign aid.

The Americans apparently grit their teeth at this outrageous response, and delude themselves that this issue would be solved during peace negotiations. One can only imagine how utterly inconceivable it would be for the United States to appease a country that continued to provide massive annual financial rewards to those who had engineered the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Yet this barbaric policy, which has been applied for decades, is ignored by the rest of the world, with the Europeans continuing to provide funds. It is only recently that, for the first time, several European countries have canceled their grants to the PA. The US Congress may also pass legislation to curtail grants to the PA unless it ceases to incentivize murder and mayhem.

In this environment, the European Union continues its blatant double standard, and acts as if the conflict is over real estate — calling for boycotts of produce from Israeli settlements, yet hardly murmuring about the ongoing weekly massacre of hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians and Bashar Assad’s continued use of forbidden chemical weapons.

Those pressuring Israel merely encourage the Palestinians to become more intransigent. It is especially frustrating to hear Trump still expressing his belief that peace with these barbarians can be achieved by appeasement. While continuing to express his love and support for the Jewish state, Trump has implied that Israel could do more to achieve peace. One can only hope that he will soon reach a more realistic conclusion, and be willing to bite the bullet.

Even though almost the entire international community is applauding the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation pact, the truth is that both parties are birds of a feather. The reason for the brutal internecine conflict between them over the past decade is not ideological, but based on competing personalities and feuding Palestinian clans. The Fatah-dominated PA speaks in softer tones to the outside world to exploit diplomatic options to achieve concessions without reciprocity — a policy of seeking to unravel Israel by stages. But the reality is that both terrorist groups share the same ultimate objective: the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region.

If the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas survives, Abbas will face problems. Until now, he was absolved from responsibility for outrages committed by Hamas terrorists. Now, as the  head of the merged entity, he would be responsible for Hamas terrorism, and it is questionable whether his security forces will curb Hamas attacks in the areas of their jurisdiction. Indeed, he now seems to have promised to resume providing rewards and pensions to Hamas terrorists.

To date, the US State Department has failed to utter a word of condemnation for this outrageous initiative. Surely it is now time for the US to warn the Palestinians that they will face major punitive reprisals unless they end their ongoing aggression against Israel. Trump should proclaim that unless our adversaries are ready to cease their incitement and condemn terrorism, the US will no longer tolerate those who pay lip service to peace while encouraging and financing mass murder. He should call for the freezing of all foreign aid to the Palestinians until their leaders desist from their terrorist activity.

Israel should support the many Palestinians who oppose terrorism, and want to improve their livelihoods and standard of living. If the democratic world acted with unity in this direction, a new Palestinian leadership might emerge that would genuinely seek a peace settlement.

In the meanwhile, Israel must remain strong and independent. While it is in the interests of Israel to reach a peace agreement, that is only possible when a bona fide partner representative of the Palestinians is willing to engage with us.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@leibler.com.

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