Palestinian support for Hamas leaves no hope for final status talks

Recent events in Gaza and the West Bank prove once again just how fallacious claims are about chances for an agreement with the Palestinians.

Amir Peretz carefully avoids detailing his policy stances in an attempt to keep public attention on his socioeconomic program. And the little bit he does reveal is based on moving straight to a final status agreement with a responsible, peace-seeking Palestinian partner.

Currently, the Palestinians are set to express their will through elections. At a time when Hamas has limited terrorism (a temporary lull, until the elections,) others have picked up the mantle, including gangs from the “moderate” Fatah faction.

The message from the Palestinian center is clear: They are ready to bring destruction on yet another generation. A fascist, anti-Semitic terrorist organization, promising the Palestinians generations of murderous clashes and unnecessary suffering, is set for a landslide victory in local elections.

By supporting Hamas, this society is signaling its view that destroying the Jewish state is more important that the opportunity to live with peace, freedom and prosperity. The Palestinians are not deterred by the meaning of electing Hamas – the rejection of basic freedoms and the chance to join the modern world.

Peretz, Yossi Beilin and others try to dry up this tsunami of terror, lawlessness and dark culture by using teaspoons full of pathetic claims. They explain the wide-spread support for Hamas as a reaction to Fatah’s corruption.

Abbas’ standing based on impotence

While it is true that it would be tough to compete with generations of Palestinian national leadership when it comes to corruption, it is a long way from there to the absurd claim that the Palestinian people decided to base its future on the clean hands, or mostly on the clean hands, of its leaders.

The Palestinians know that a responsible, peace-seeking leadership, one that will erase terrorism and move towards a historic compromise, would create a Palestinian state with Israel’s agreement, supported by the United States and financed by the Europeans.

The Palestinians know that by choosing Hamas, a group that sanctifies terror and rejects compromise and bases its approach to the Jewish people on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is dooming their fate, their future, and their quality of life. Only Israelis choosing to ignore the facts can attribute this decision to official corruption.

In addition, the claim that strengthening Mahmoud Abbas will allow for a historic compromise doesn’t stand the test of reality. His standing in Palestinian society is based on his impotence.

Were Abbas to show any sort of determination to eradicate terror, he would immediately lose any public support he now enjoys. His total lack of answers, at a time when armed gangs from his own organization and hooligans of all types control Palestinian society and plan the death of Israel, makes him totally irrelevant to final status discussions.

Amir Peretz owes the public a serious grappling with an issue so central to the future of this country. If he’s got serious ideas about how to reach a final status agreement at the current time, he must present them.

As long as he fails to do this, the real choice is between a perpetual Israeli presence in the heart of the Palestinian population, and unilateral moves that do not rely on the good will of an abandoned, answer-less Palestinian leadership.

Dan Schueftan is the assistant director of the Center for National Security Research at Haifa University

PS: Reprinted by permission of Yedioth Ahronoth