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February 9, 2005
Palestinian Triangle Offense At The Ready; WaPo Gets The Assist

As I predicted yesterday, the Palestinian triumvirate of terror still holds open their normal triangle strategy of using cease-fires as a cover for more violence, as key terrorist groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip refused to endorse the informal truce announced yesterday at Sharm el-Sheikh by Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon. Hamas in particular went out of its way to inform the world that they will not feel bound by the latest Israeli-Palestinian agreement:

Officials from each side said the success of Tuesday's agreements depends on the other side meeting its obligations. For Abbas, that means persuading guerrillas to stop attacks on Israelis and ensuring that Palestinian security agencies work to help prevent such attacks. For Sharon, it means an end to assassinations of militants, military incursions into Palestinian cities and destruction of Palestinians' homes.

But while Abbas committed the Palestinian Authority to refrain from violence, the two most powerful radical Islamic groups -- the Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, and Islamic Jihad -- have not endorsed his efforts, though both have scaled back attacks since Abbas was elected a month ago to replace the late Yasser Arafat.

Representatives of Hamas issued conflicting assessments of the summit, reflecting both continued debate within the group's ranks and the challenges still facing Abbas.

"We cannot accept it," Mushir Masri, one Hamas spokesman, said in a telephone interview. But Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas political leader in the Gaza Strip, told television reporters that if the Israelis "continue the quiet, then we are going to continue, because we are committed to Abu Mazen," as Abbas is known informally.

Molly Moore gets a bit disingenuous with that last part. Abu Mazen is not how Mahmoud Abbas is "informally" known; that is Abbas' nom de guerre, the pseudonym he chose for his career in terror. Abbas was a key member of the Palestinian terror group PLO and helped plan and finance the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972. Having the Washington Post treat the name "Abu Mazen" as some sort of term of grandfatherly endearment grossly misrepresents not only Abbas' history, but the meaning that Hamas deliberately implies in using that name for the Palestinian president.

If the Washington Post wants to keep its readers informed, their reporters should do their research and report honestly on the facts.

The refusal of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to back Abbas' bid for peace should have everyone seeing red flags. Moore reports that the Israelis, Egyptians, and Jordanians are counting on Abbas to keep the groups under control, but as the two elections held in the territories last month demonstrated, Abbas has no mandate to suppress the terrorists among his own people. Abbas could barely get 30% of the people to turn out for the Hamas-boycotted presidential election until Fatah changed the rules at the last hour, allowing a flood of re-votes by the same 30% to make the turnout a more respectable 70%. In the local elections which had Hamas participation, Fatah only held one-third of all positions contested, with Hamas gaining the other two-thirds.

In other words, when Abbas has to go to the mattresses with Hamas -- and he will, if he's serious -- he's going to be outnumbered 2-1. That means Abbas won't bother, and the resultant terrorist activity will force Israel to respond. The Palestinians will once again claim that Israel broke the truce and respond in kind, and we'll be back to square one -- just like every time this has been tried.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. In order to get a different result, the Palestinians have to want peace and reject the terrorists. So far, that hasn't happened, and until it does, Abbas' pretender status won't advance the cause.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 9, 2005 7:31 AM

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» Palestinian Ceasefire: More of the Same? from Critical Mastiff
With all of the jubilation by diplomats and the media over the much-heralded truce between Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon, you would think that they have all forgotten the innumerable truces that Arafat called, only to do nothing to enforce them. [Read More]

Tracked on February 9, 2005 10:33 AM

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