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Friday, December 23, 2011

The purposeful ambiguity of terrorists joining the PLO

Reuters reports that Hamas and Islamic Jihad plan to join the PLO.

Rival Palestinian factions took a significant step towards reconciliation Thursday as the Islamist group Hamas said it planned to join President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abbas held a meeting in Cairo with leaders from the factions, including Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, where a committee was formed to prepare for the inclusion of Hamas, as well as the smaller Islamic Jihad, in the PLO.

Hamas has refused to recognize Israel or renounce violence, while the PLO has signed interim peace accords. It was unclear how Hamas would be included in the PLO, given the discrepancy.

The committee will now prepare for an internal election of the PLO parliament in order to facilitate Hamas and the Islamic Jihad membership.

One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hamas's Mashaal had told Abbas that his group was "in favor of peaceful resistance and a truce in Gaza and the West Bank at this stage".

The official offered no further explanation on what that might mean. Hamas has said in the past it would agree to a long-term truce with Israel, but remains sworn to its destruction.
Islamic Jihad clearly sees this as a method to restructure the PLO - away from its signed peace agreements with Israel:
An Islamic Jihad leader said Thursday that joining an "interim leadership framework" of the PLO did not necessarily mean it had formally joined the Palestinian body.

Khaled Al-Batsh told Ma’an that joining the organization requires a clear framework for how the PLO will be restructured.

He added that if there was an agreement concerning these issues, Islamic Jihad would become a member in the organization. However, if there was no agreement, the group said it was still willing to contribute.

“We’re now in the phase of national dialogue," he said. "We’re in the interim leadership framework, which will handle restructuring the PLO, and we hope to succeed.”
Batsh also said "We support reconciliation on the basis of building a unified Palestinian authority in the framework agreement on a national project that meets the need of the Palestinians, as part of upholding our right to resistance and national principles."

Hamas takes a similar stance, saying that this is an opportunity for the PLO to include all Palestinian Arab factions (meaning, terror groups) and elect new members for its national council and executive committee. Meshal also railed against the PLO's unilateralism.

Abbas and his cronies, of course, will do everything they can to present this to the West as if the PLO is not reneging on its signed agreements while they will say in Arabic that the PLO can accommodate the inclusion of unrepentant terror groups.

Their strategy will be to find an ambiguous enough formula that desperate Western leaders can embrace with their eyes wide shut, using their penchant for wishful thinking to patch over the gaping divide between Hamas and PIJ and any possible peace process and then to blame Israel for showing reluctance to negotiate with its would-be exterminators.

It might take a couple of years, but soon we will see op-eds in major newspapers asking exactly what is wrong with Hamas' idea of a "long term truce" before annihilating Israel, or saying that Islamic Jihad has embraced the peace process. Things that are still considered somewhat absurd will become mainstream thinking by dint of repetition of sound bites by the new PLO leadership.

After all, that's what happened with the PLO itself. Remember that it has been over a decade since the PLO supposedly changed its charter to remove all references to destroying Israel and armed resistance - and yet in the meantime it has never published a revised charter!

The Palestinian Arab leadership is skilled at creating just enough ambiguity to allow credulous Western leaders and pundits to mentally fill in the rest with what they fervently hope the terrorists and their supporters are saying. They know that Western wishful thinking goes a long way to help their cause.