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Media Silent Amid US, EU Push for Palestinian ‘Unity’ Government Including Terrorist Hamas

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

Hamas fighters take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of the terror group’s founding, in Gaza City, Dec. 16, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

The Biden administration is reportedly spearheading renewed efforts to create a Palestinian unity government that would include the US-designated terrorist group Hamas, according to reports in the Israeli media.

Hamas’ antisemitic founding charter calls for the “obliteration” of the world’s only Jewish state. In May, Hamas killed 13 Israelis after deliberately firing some 4,300 projectiles and rockets at population centers, with each launch constituting a war crime.

Additionally, the terror group’s tactic of militarizing residential areas in Gaza resulted in the deaths of more than 20 Palestinian civilians, as hundreds of rockets fell short inside the coastal enclave.

Hamas then threw its support behind the Taliban, applauding the group for its “victory that came as the culmination of more than 20 years of struggle,” and marked the “demise of the [US] occupation on Afghan soil.” And just last month, Hamas hosted a “workshop” that concluded with a statement promising to “purge” all lands encompassing Israel of “Jewish settlers” and “hypocrite scum that spread corruption.”

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Despite this, Washington’s reported initiative that would effectively sanitize Hamas has remained largely hidden from the public.

In fact, an analysis by HonestReporting shows that none of the 23 most widely-read global publications and press agencies, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, and others, have produced reports on the Palestinian Authority (PA)-Hamas unity effort since Israel’s i24NEWS broke the story on November 9.

During the ensuing six days, journalists at these same major outlets filed 97 articles that mentioned the Palestinians.

Similarly, European calls to essentially rehabilitate Hamas, which Brussels blacklisted in 2003, have received no media attention. On October 27, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, in a meeting with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, stressed the “need for Palestinian factions to resume serious efforts towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation and set a new date for the postponed national elections.”

When general elections were last held in Palestinian-controlled territories in 2006, the Hamas-led Change and Reform list won 74 seats in the 132-member, now-defunct Palestinian Legislative Council. What immediately followed was a bloody civil war between the EU-designated terror group Hamas, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.

Reuters quoted a doctor in Gaza as saying that the level of cruelty during the internecine conflict was “beyond our imagination.” Eyewitness reports described Hamas members throwing Abbas’ security operatives off 15-story buildings in Gaza, and mutilating the bodies of killed adversaries.

According to a September 2021 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, if elections were to be held across the West Bank and Gaza today, Hamas would again garner the most votes. In the aftermath of the previous election, the EU insisted that the terror group renounce violence and recognize Israel to win its support, a condition that has clearly not been met.

It is against this backdrop that European officials, in conjunction with Abbas — who, mind you, is currently in the 17th year of his four-year term — last week inaugurated the new headquarters of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) in Ramallah. The $6.9 million building, funded by the European Union, had been under construction since 2018.

The ceremony was also attended by diplomats from countries that have explicitly backed the EU’s call for new Palestinian elections, including CanadaSpain, and Lithuania.

“This project is not just about a new building and better workspace for our partners at the CEC,” EU representative to the Palestinians Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff stated at the event. “This is about maintaining hope for millions of Palestinian youth who never had the chance to vote in national elections.

“The EU will continue to call for credible, inclusive [emphasis added] and transparent elections for all Palestinians,” the diplomat continued. “We strongly encourage all Palestinian leaders to resume efforts to build on the talks between the factions over recent months. A new date for national elections should be set without delay.”

Kühn von Burgsdorff did not explain how Brussels would persuade Hamas to cease pursuing its official goal of raising “the banner of Allah over every inch of [the territory once compromising British Mandatory] Palestine.”

Nor did any foreign journalist press the EU representative on how Brussels intends to reconcile the numerous contradictions inherent to its plan. Indeed, the dystopian ceremony in Ramallah was seemingly covered only by the Palestinian and Israeli media.

This, even though the Palestinians are among the top recipients of European aid, with official data indicating that the West Bank and Gaza over the last five years received more EU funds per capita than war-torn Syria.

Moreover, the push to bring Hamas back into the Palestinian political fold violates agreements signed between the PLO and Israel. The 1995 Oslo II accords note in Annex II, Article III, Section 2, that, “The nomination of any candidates, parties, or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be cancelled, if such candidates, parties, or coalitions…commit or advocate racism or pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means.”

HonestReporting is therefore calling on American and European reporters, in particular, to ask Western officials the $6.9 million question: In retrospect, was their support for Hamas running in the 2006 Palestinian elections a prudent policy decision, and, if so, do they sincerely view Gaza as a model for Palestinian statehood?

And if the answer to the first question is no, then why do they expect that backing Hamas all over again will result in a different outcome?

The author is a writer-researcher for HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, where a version of this article first appeared.

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