Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Hamas Recognises Israel

Negotiate with Hamas or face Al-Qaeda in Gaza

According to Haaretz,
"The Hamas militant group announced Monday that it had previously told the United States it would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, according to Israel Radio. Citing the organization's semi-annual report, Israel Radio said that Hamas had also asked the U.S. administration to open dialogue. The militant group said in its report that it had passed that message along via American academics and politicians visiting the Gaza Strip."

"Hamas also said that it had asked Washington to lift the veto it had imposed on reconciliation efforts between the militant group and its rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction.Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from Fatah in a bloody 2007 coup, has adamantly opposed the resumption of direction peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel." 

Richard Silverstein comments,

I am not arguing that Hamas should be given veto power in any negotiation.  I am arguing that Hamas much be dealt with in a deft way which Obama has shown no capacity or inclination to do. An Arab newspaper (via Google Translation) quoted this passage from the report which contains a very interesting new opening by Hamas:
There is no opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state in 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital in order to achieve security for the Palestinian people and the return of refugees and compensation for their suffering and the release of all prisoners within the prisons…
While I don’t pretend to be an expert on Hamas, the italicized clause seems to be a new development in Hamas’ thinking about the Right of Return.  This formulation is quite close to that of the Geneva Initiative, which calls for the Right of Return to be realized through a hybrid implementation: the physical return of a pre-agreed number of refugees to Israel proper and compensation paid to those who choose not to return.
Now, as for the Habarists who dredge up the Hamas covenant in order to rebut any glimmer of pragmatism within Hamas, I’ll take a semi-annual report written in 2010 over a document written by an anonymous scribe in 1988 in terms of telling me the current thinking of this movement.  By the way, this isn’t the first time senior Hamas officials have said this as you can see from the results of this Google search.
The game is slipping away from Israel for two more reasons.

1. Unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence

Haaretz suggests there is a possibility of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence within the 1967 borders, a move which could potentially be recognized by the United Nations Security Council.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently asked the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to veto any such proposal, after reports reached Jerusalem of support for such a declaration from major European Union countries, and apparently also certain U.S. officials. The reports indicated that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has reached a secret understanding with the Obama administration over U.S. recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Such recognition would likely transform any Israeli presence across the Green Line, even in Jerusalem, into an illegal incursion to which the Palestinians would be entitled to engage in measures of self-defense.
2. Al-Qaeda are gaining influence in Gaza

Reuters report that Hamas Islamists ruling the Gaza Strip face a growing security challenge from al Qaeda-inspired Palestinian groups in the religiously conservative enclave.
Fundamentalist Muslims, or Salafis, whose agenda of global jihad, or holy war, against the West is against Hamas's nationalist goals, have stepped up bombing attacks in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, targeting Hamas security men and offices.
It seems Israel has a choice: Negotiate with Hamas and accept the internationally recognised 1967 borders or face Al-Qaeda in Gaza.