Making peace between enemies

Another false alarm, or the real thing?

“Fatah has welcomed and accepted the latest proposal,” said Jibril Rajoub, the newly-elected member of Fatah’s Central Committee, who said that the proposal would bring the two rival parties closer to signing a “national unity agreement.” …

Earlier this week, sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post that the two parties were scheduled to sign a reconciliation accord under the auspices of the Egyptians before the end of this year.

The sources said that the breakthrough in the Hamas-Fatah talks came after the Islamic movement’s leader, Khaled Mashaal, held talks in Cairo last weekend with senior Egyptian government officials…

The proposal, which has been accepted by both Fatah and Hamas, calls for holding presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories in the first half of 2010 and not in January of the same year as originally planned…

On the issue of security, the initiative envisages the establishment of a security committee that would consist of “professional” officers and which would be placed under the supervision of the Egyptians. The committee’s main task would be to oversee the revamping of the Palestinian Authority security forces. — Jerusalem Post

Of course, there is nothing more important than the Palestinian ‘security forces’, whose job is to ‘fight terrorism’. Both Hamas and Fatah have multiple armed forces, far more than any similarly sized non-nation. Almost half of the salaries paid by the Fatah-ruled PA go to members of the various official militias and police forces. For example, there is the PA National Security Service, the Civil Police, the Preventive Security Service, the General Intelligence Service, the Military Intelligence Service, The Presidential Guard (now supposedly incorporating the notorious Force 17). Then of course there are the frankly terrorist al-Quds Martyrs’ Brigades and the Fatah Tanzim, which while officially not part of the PA, are paid by Fatah.

And those are just the ones I can think of, and just on the Fatah side. But I digress.

Earlier reports have said that the unity agreement will include language about ‘respecting’ prior PA-Israel agreements — in particular, the Oslo accords, which call for the PA to recognize the State of Israel — but not ‘accepting’ them. I have a hard time understanding this, but you can bet that it means that they do not agree that Israel is a legitimate nation (not to mention a Jewish one).

It will be interesting to see if a PA unity government incorporating Hamas, ‘respecting’ but not ‘accepting’, will be considered to meet the Quartet requirements for legitimacy. My guess is yes, a way will be found.

But making peace between Fatah and Hamas will have been easy, compared to imposing a settlement on Israel and the new, improved PA.

What this ‘unity’ means for Israel, if it actually happens, is that the dishonest terrorists of Fatah will be joined by the honest ones of Hamas. Together they will be the recipient of billions in international aid funds and Israel’s partner for negotiations. It’s hard to imagine that its demands will be less than those presently being made by the PA: “not one centimeter less” than the pre-67 borders including all of East Jerusalem, no settlements, a right of return, etc. And let’s not forget the demand — echoed by President Obama — that the state of Palestine must be ‘contiguous’.

Consider also that PA forces are receiving arms and training from the US and Jordan to ‘fight terrorism’. Will this continue once Hamas has joined the PA?

‘Peace process’ optimists like to quote Rabin’s statement that “you make peace with enemies, not with friends.”  But compare these two agreements signed in the name of peace between (more or less) the same parties, enemies:

The first one brought war, the second a true and lasting peace. What can we learn from this?

A peace agreement that worked: Reims, May 7, 1945

A peace agreement that worked: Reims, May 7, 1945

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2 Responses to “Making peace between enemies”

  1. dsokal says:

    Hi Vic – I suppose you would prefer that Israel negotiate with Hamas and Fatah separately? Or is it simply that you prefer their disunity so that we can continue to claim there is no one to negotiate with?

  2. Vic Rosenthal says:

    Today there is nobody to negotiate with. Not Fatah, not Hamas. Maybe someday the Palestinians will decide that they can’t destroy Israel and will move in the direction of peace.

    As I’ve said before, we can negotiate when they get a leadership that believes that helping Arabs have a decent life is more important than killing Jews.

    We aren’t there yet, are we?