The American plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace which relies on Palestinian ‘moderates’ is less than worthless, and should be terminated immediately.
Arms and money given to the Palestinian Authority (PA) today will be used against Israel in the future, when the present unstable situation collapses. Forcing the IDF to withdraw from the West Bank will make the inevitable war even more difficult.
The division between Fatah and Hamas is artificial and cannot be maintained. Even one Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza would have difficulty being economically viable; two could never be. Today Saudi Arabia and Egypt are working to bring the sides together, and there is no doubt that a coalition will shortly be formed. Maybe it will be called Fatmas.
Although Fatah is presented as being moderate and Hamas extremist, their views about Israel are actually very similar.
Fatah’s demands include a right of return for refugee descendants, no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, withdrawal to 1949 armistice lines, and Arab sovereignty over all of East Jerusalem, including the holy sites.
Mahmoud Abbas claims that if Israel meets these demands, a Palestinian state will live in peace with Israel.
Hamas makes exactly the same demands, except that they offer a 10-year hudna (truce) rather than peace.
Both organizations have ‘military’ (read: terrorist) wings. Indeed, Fatah’s al-Aqsa brigades murdered an Israeli the day before the opening of the Annapolis conference.
Fatah’s functionaries are corrupt, many of them involved in drug dealing, extortion, and other kinds of crime. They are highly unpopular among Palestinians because of this, and because many think that Abbas deliberately lost the power struggle in Gaza in order to break up the Hamas-dominated PA government (you will recall, Hamas won the Palestinian election) in order to restart the flood of US aid. The only reason Fatah is in control of anything now is that the US is propping it up while the IDF fights off Hamas’ attempts to take over the West Bank.
Hamas was founded on Islamic principles, while Fatah is more-or-less secular. Hamas and Fatah are both quite brutal to their enemies. For Palestinians on one side or the other this is important, but for Israel it is irrelevant. The only difference is a promise of what might happen if Israel meets impossible conditions.
The situation today is that the US-financed Fatah and the Iranian-backed Hamas are struggling for leadership, as proxies of their patrons, while at the same time Egypt and Saudi Arabia are trying to give birth to Fatmas — an entity which they will control. Fatmas will be much more dangerous than its predecessors, combining the legitimacy of Fatah with the militancy of Hamas.
It is very hard to imagine any other outcome than a Fatmas coalition. One thing that I am sure of is that the winner is not going to be the US-backed Abbas faction by itself. So weapons we give Fatah today will either be inherited by Fatmas or taken by Hamas.
So how can the US maintain its influence?
How about by supporting Israel, our true ally in the region, as opposed to dishonestly playing both ends against the middle by arming and encouraging her enemies?