Nu, my grandmother would have asked, is it good for the Jews?
I am talking about the latest episode in the Fatah-Hamas ‘reconciliation’ soap opera. Let’s look at some of the arguments pro and con.
First, on the left, we have this: “it is good for the Jews because a unified Palestinian entity can sign a peace agreement that binds all their factions.” This is probably the weakest argument. As I wrote yesterday, the idea that the PLO, even without Hamas, would in good faith make and keep an agreement to end the conflict is at best wishful thinking. This has been proven on multiple occasions since the days of Arafat. Add the rejectionist Hamas, and the tiny probability becomes even tinier.
Turning right, we hear that it is bad for the Jews because it will strengthen Hamas. There is some truth to this. Hamas has been suffering economically since its patron, the Muslim Brotherhood, lost power in Egypt. General Sisi’s forces are continuing to destroy the tunnels that provide a path for weapons and terrorists to pass into and out of the strip, and whose operation is heavily taxed by Hamas. If Hamas gets access to the European and American funds sloshing around in the Palestinian Authority (PA), that will offset the loss.
Some object that Europe and the US will not continue to fund a PA that includes the terrorist Hamas. But practically speaking, the powers are not prepared to give up the control that they buy with their aid. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated yesterday that Hamas would be an acceptable partner in a unity-governed PA only if it met the three “quartet conditions” of renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and accepting prior agreements (the Oslo Accords, in particular). While this appears to be a rejection of Hamas, which has often insisted that it would never agree to these conditions, it is also a door that Hamas can pass through. If it really wants to join the PA, I suspect a formula could be found that both Hamas and State would accept. Of course, in practice nothing about Hamas would change.
All this is true and on the ‘bad’ side of the ledger. But others suggest that there may be an unexpected benefit as well, which is that union with Hamas would expose the PLO for what it is — an organization with genocidal aims no less sinister than Hamas. After all, what distinguishes the PLO from Hamas? Three things:
Strategy — The Hamas approach is more directly confrontational, while the PLO prefers to alternate terrorism with diplomatic warfare. In both cases, the objective — the replacement of the Jewish state with an Arab state and the expulsion or murder of the Jews of Israel — is the same.
Ideology — Hamas would like to create an Islamic state following Shari’a. The PLO is mostly secular, with Marxist, Pan-Arab and nationalist elements. From our point of view, the kind of state they would create after eliminating the Jews is irrelevant.
Personalities — Hamas leaders would like to be the dictators of their new state, and so would those of the PLO. They would like to settle their scores and become the Arab tyrants they believe they deserve to be.
The idea of exposure is attractive: everyone would see the truth about the PA, and stop pressuring Israel to make concessions to forces that want to destroy it. But of course that is not what would happen. Would the US State Department suddenly reverse the course it has steered since 1967, to get Israel out of the territories? Would the Europeans suddenly decide that it’s acceptable for the Jews to have a sovereign state?
None of these things would happen, because the world’s priorities do not fall on the side of Jewish survival. They never have, and even our friends have more important concerns.
What might happen, though, is a short pause in the international pressure, along with a further disillusionment with the ‘process’ in Israel (even Tzipi Livni said that there could not be “business as usual” with a Hamas-ified PA). This could be an opportunity for Israel to act decisively to end the charade started at Oslo and the pretense that the PLO is anything other than the genocidal terrorist gang that it has always been.
Oslo, specifically the recognition of the PLO as the “legitimate representative of the ‘Palestinian people’,” is one of the greatest mistakes — if not the greatest — made by any Israeli government since 1948. While much of the damage can’t be undone — the roughly 1500 Jews murdered as a result of it can’t be brought back to life — at least the pernicious ‘process’ can be finally ended.