We have many concerns about the accord, starting with the fact that Hamas has neither renounced its legacy of violence nor agreed to recognize Israel. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said he remains in charge of peace efforts and the unity government will be responsible for rebuilding Gaza and organizing elections. Whether that is Hamas’s vision is unclear.If the US would have clearly warned the PA ahead of time that a government that does not meet the long-standing preconditions of the Quartet will lose all its foreign funding, all of the above problems would never have come up to begin with. Why should the world embrace Hamas now when we saw what happened last time they had "unity" - leading to Gaza turning into Hamastan?
Also disconcerting are suggestions that Mr. Abbas may have privately agreed to replace his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who has done so much to build up the West Bank economy and institutions. There are big questions about the future of the two sides’ security forces.
The United States has spent millions of dollars helping the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority create a security force that Israel has come to rely on to keep the peace in the West Bank. Whether Hamas, which has terrorized Israel with rockets from Gaza, can ever be integrated into that force, or even work side by side, is a huge question.
Israel certainly has many reasons to mistrust this deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended tax remittances and is pressing Washington hard to cut off aid to the Abbas government. The Obama administration has reacted warily to the new pact but said its assistance will continue for now. Congress is talking tough.
It’s too early for a cut-off. The money is Washington’s main leverage on the new government. A cut-off would shift the political balance dangerously toward Hamas.
Other reconciliation attempts between Fatah and Hamas have imploded, but Mr. Abbas seems to believe this will advance his push to get the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state. Above all, his sudden willingness to deal with his enemies in Hamas is a sign of his desperation with the stalled peace process.No it isn't. It is proof that Abbas refuses to compromise with Israel and therefore is cunningly using the international community to accomplish by fiat the same goal without his being forced to tell his people that they will need to make concessions. There is no desperation here: just a very smart end-run around his making hard decisions.
Hamas’s goals are far harder to game, although there are reports of new frictions with Syria and a desire for better ties with Egypt’s new government.The NYT covers world events, but cannot draw a line between the popular revolutions against authoritarianism in the Arab world and Gaza? Apparently, to the Times, the PA is an island of Western-style democracy in an ocean of Arab dictatorships.
In an interview with The Times last week, Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, declared himself fully committed to working for a two-state solution. Just a few days earlier Hamas’s (supposedly more moderate) prime minister, Ismail Haniya, was out there celebrating Osama bin Laden as a “Muslim and Arab warrior.”Hmmm. How can the New York Times resolve this seeming contradiction? Maybe it should go back and read Ethan Bronner's actual interview with Meshal, without Bronner's unprofessional and frankly dangerous assumptions, and discover that Meshal said no such thing!
Here's a rule to live by: When Hamas seems inconsistent between its words and actions, look for a loophole in their words. This is what a serious journalist must do, and it is something that the New York Times cannot seem to grasp vis a vis Palestinian Arab promises.
Huge skepticism and vigilance are essential. But more months with no progress on peace talks will only further play into extremists’ hands....After Israel withdrew from Gaza, rocket attacks increased. After Israel killed some 750 Hamas terrorists in Cast Lead, rocket fire went down dramatically and Hamas started stopping other Gaza groups from firing rockets.
There were more suicide attacks in the immediate aftermath of Oslo - even before the second intifada - then there are today, after Israel went on the offensive to destroy the terror infrastructure in the West Bank.
Amazing how peace can result from war - another concept that the New York Times cannot grasp.
Washington needs to press Mr. Netanyahu back to the peace table. A negotiated settlement is the only way to guarantee Israel’s lasting security.In the funhouse mirror image universe that the NYT resides in, it is Netanyahu who has refused to talk with Abbas, not the other way around. Their meme of an intransigent Likud leader is so ingrained that they cannot even get basic facts right.
The answer, to us, is clear. It is time for Mr. Obama, alone or with the quartet, to put a map and deal on the table. If Bin Laden’s death has given the president capital to spend, all the better. The Israelis and Palestinians are not going to break the stalemate on their own. And more drift will only lead to more desperation and more extremism.The map and deal have been on the table before. The Palestinian Arabs rejected it, consistently. The Times' editors fantasies that Israel just needs to give a little more to obtain peace reflects nothing close to resembling reality.
But it does reflect that they believe Mahmoud Abbas' lies completely and uncritically. They believe he is a moderate, that he is willing to compromise, that his hands are tied, that he desperately wants peace with Israel. All of those assumptions - each demonstrably and provably false, as has been documented over the years - are what informs ridiculous NYT op-eds like these.
It certainly isn't based on fact.
(h/t David G)