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Reports from the West Bank have Hamas considering a compromise with Fatah on the proposed plebscite on their plan to recognize Israel and work towards the two-state solution. Hamas may agree to an implicit recognition in order to rescue themselves from a back-breaking sanctions regime forced on the Palestinians due to their defiance, but it may not be enough:
The ruling Hamas and rival Fatah factions were moving closer to an agreement on implicitly recognizing Israel, negotiators said Sunday in a sign that international pressure on the new Palestinian government could be yielding results. ...
One official, who was serving as a mediator, said Hamas is desperate to reach an agreement with Fatah as a way of lifting the international aid boycott that has bankrupted the Hamas-led government and left public workers unpaid since March. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were still in progress.
A Hamas leader in an Israeli prison said agreement could be reached in the coming days.
A possible face-saving formula could be a vague reference to "just Arab solutions," which could be interpreted as a nod toward an Arab League plan that offered Israel peace in exchange for a full withdrawal from the
West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, and resolution of the issue of Palestinian refugees.
It was unclear whether such a formula would satisfy the U.S. and Europe, which demand a clear commitment from the Hamas-led government to renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept peace accords signed by Palestinians before Hamas took over the government.
The last point is the most critical. We cannot expect Israel to have to renegotiate every agreement whenever the Palestinians elect a new government. If the Palestinians want statehood, then they need to establish a reliance on their agreements. Unfortunately, the world has too often excused Palestinian backtracking, which led them to believe that the new Hamas government could expect the money to flow even when they negated all the work the West had done to get the conflict to this stage of resolution.
The lesson that the Palestinians are learning now is long overdue and absolutely necessary. Until they understand that breaching agreements will result in significant sanctions, we will never have peace of a lasting nature. Perhaps Hamas has finally begun to understand that they jave to bend -- but so far, they still don't understand just how far they will have to bend to rescue themselves from political and economic disaster.
Hamas wants to somehow elide over a recognition of Israel and still hold onto the notion of a "right of return" to territory within Israel. That will never happen, and the sooner the West makes that clear the better off everyone will be. If Hamas balks at that basic issue, then flexibility on all other points will not make much difference anyway. I doubt that Hamas will ever give on that point -- even if Fatah might -- and the result may well be civil war.
UPDATE: Power Line has an interesting report on an apparent collapse of the Israel-divestment movement in the Presbyterian Church. Joel Mowbray sends an exclusive to the Power Line trio:
Initially, divestment efforts seemed to be gaining a head of steam. But no university thus far has taken the bait, and almost all other churches persuaded to sign on have resisted. At several regional religious conferences over the past year, in fact, votes on divestment have turning more and more against embracing the policy, resulting in a string of defeats for pro-Palestinian forces.
Just over an hour ago, the 62-member Peacemaking and International Issues Committee voted overwhelmingly to apologize for its action of two years ago and no longer officially endorse divestment. Much like the procedures of Congress, this "recommendation" must now be taken up by the 534 voting members of the full assembly, who can amend it, ratify it as is, or defeat it.
The idea that one could equate Israel with the apartheid regime previously in charge of South Africa is ludicrous on its face. The Israeli Arabs have the right to vote in Israel and hold seats in the Knesset, and face no restrictions on their rights within Israel. The intellectual dishonesty of the movement will likely be its chief cause of collapse.Sphere It View blog reactions
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