Archive for the ‘Hamas – Palestinian Authority reconciliation’ category

What is Really Uniting the Palestinians?

October 15, 2017

What is Really Uniting the Palestinians? Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil, October 15, 2017

The “reconciliation” deal is not meant to advance any peace process or to persuade Hamas to stop terrorism. Nor is it designed to rally Palestinians behind Abbas and Fatah. This is an agreement that paves the way for Abbas and Hamas to become equal partners. Hamas is right: Why should it allow Abbas to sign a peace agreement with Israel once he has agreed to sit with Hamas when it continues to seek the destruction of Israel? As Hamas’s new partner, Abbas should as of now be held responsible for any terror attack that emanates from the Gaza Strip. Partnership entails accepting responsibility for the actions and rhetoric of your partners.

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Saleh Arouri and Hamas view the “reconciliation” agreement as Fatah moving closer to Hamas and not the other way around….The “reconciliation” agreement requires from Hamas only to dissolve its shadow government in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not being asked to recognize Israel’s right to exist, or renounce terrorism or lay down its arms. Hamas is not being asked to change its anti-Semitic charter, which openly calls for the elimination not only of Israel but of Jews: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem). (Hamas Charter, Article 7)

The “reconciliation” agreement is clearly a Fatah submission to Hamas and not vice versa. In his accord with Hamas, Abbas has signed onto Hamas’s version of violent “resistance” against Israel and Jews. This is the real meaning of this Abbas-Hamas deal.

Buoyed by the “reconciliation” agreement reached with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas has announced that it seeks to unite all Palestinians in the fight against the “Zionist enterprise.” In other words, Hamas views the agreement as a vehicle for rallying Palestinians behind it toward achieving its longtime goal of destroying Israel.

When Hamas talks about the “Zionist enterprise,” it is referring to the establishment of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Hamas is not only opposed to the existence of Israel on what it and most Muslims perceive as “Muslim-owned” land; it reiterates, at every opportunity, its desire to annihilate Israel.

Those who think that the new “reconciliation” accord will have a moderating effect of Hamas are both blind and deaf to what Hamas itself has been stating both before and after the agreement. One has to give Hamas credit for being clear, honest and consistent about its goal of destroying Israel.

Hours after the latest agreement was signed in Cairo, Saleh Arouri, the newly elected deputy chairman of Hamas’s “political bureau,” stated that his movement’s next step was to work toward uniting all Palestinians against the “Zionist enterprise.”

According to Arouri — an arch-terrorist wanted by Israel for his role in funding and orchestrating terrorism — pursuing the fight against Israel should be the number one priority of all Palestinians, especially in light of the “reconciliation” deal with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. The well-being of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is the very farthest thing from the minds of Hamas and its new partner, the PA.

Arouri, who shuttles between a number of Arab and Islamic countries, does not live in the Gaza Strip. As such, he is not faced with the power outages, lack of medical supplies, and ill-equipped hospitals dealt with on a daily basis by most Palestinians there. Why should he care about the plight of his people when he can afford to stay in five-star hotels in Lebanon, Egypt and other countries?

“We are hoping that we will be able to reach agreement with our brothers in Fatah [Abbas’s ruling faction] and other Palestinian factions on a comprehensive national strategy to confront the Zionist enterprise,” Arouri said in an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds. “It’s not hard for us to find a formula that would bring all factions together. We believe that confronting the Zionist enterprise, with all means, is not only a right, but also the duty of all of us. This does not contravene international law.”

Translation: Arouri, like most Hamas leaders, sees the “reconciliation” accord as an opportunity to advance Hamas’s genocidal agenda against Israel and Jews. He believes that the new partnership with Abbas’s Fatah should incentivize all other Palestinian factions to join forces in the fight against Israel.

More importantly, Arouri and Hamas view the “reconciliation” agreement as Fatah moving closer to Hamas and not the other way around. Here, the Hamas leader is absolutely right. The “reconciliation” agreement requires from Hamas only to dissolve its shadow government in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not being asked to recognize Israel’s right to exist, or renounce terrorism or lay down its arms. Hamas is not being asked to change its anti-Semitic charter, which openly states:

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. (Hamas Charter, Article 13)

The charter also calls for the elimination not only of Israel but of Jews:

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem). (Hamas Charter, Article 7)

All that Hamas is being asked to do is to allow Abbas’s Palestinian Authority government to manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for now at least, will continue to maintain “security control” over the Gaza Strip.

In the new “reconciliation” agreement between Hamas and Fatah, all that Hamas is being asked to do is to allow the Palestinian Authority government to manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas will continue to maintain “security control” over the Gaza Strip. Pictured: Hamas “security forces” parade their weapons in Gaza City, on July 20, 2017. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Hence, the “reconciliation” agreement is clearly a Fatah submission to Hamas and not vice versa. Abbas and his Fatah faction went crawling to Hamas because they were afraid of a possible alliance between Hamas and ousted Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan. Hamas played the Dahlan card very cleverly by spreading news that it was about to strike a deal with Dahlan to allow him back into the Gaza Strip, where he would serve as a governor with no security power. Dahlan is based in the United Arab Emirates.

Dahlan’s return to the Gaza Strip would have saved Hamas from its isolation and financial crisis, especially in the aftermath of a series of sanctions imposed by Abbas on the Gaza Strip in a bid to undermine Hamas.

Moreover, through its “reconciliation” accord with Abbas, Hamas is hoping to prevent him from resuming peace talks with Israel. As Arouri clearly stated in the interview:

“We in Hamas do not want to engage in any political process with Israel. We don’t want this and this is not our job. Our role is to pursue the resistance until the occupation is removed from our land. This is our position and it hasn’t changed. With the [Israeli] enemy, there should be no political process. Instead, there should only be resistance.”

For those who are not familiar with Arab terminology and culture, “resistance” is a euphemism for terrorism. For Hamas, resistance means rockets, missiles, suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism against Israel and Jews.

As such, Hamas is hoping that the “reconciliation” agreement will even further endear Fatah to terrorism as an alternative to peace talks with Israel. Hamas sees Abbas’s intention to return to the Gaza Strip as a first step toward abandoning any peace process with Israel in favor of an armed struggle.

Not only does Hamas want Abbas to abandon any political process, it is now warning him that as its new partner, he has no authority to do so. Hamas’s message to Abbas is: As of now, we are partners in “peace” and war. No one is entitled to surprise us by signing a political agreement with Israel that suits the views of one faction over the others. These are the precise words of the Hamas leader, Arouri.

Conclusion: The “reconciliation” deal is not meant to advance any peace process or to persuade Hamas to stop terrorism. Nor is it designed to rally Palestinians behind Abbas and Fatah. This is an agreement that paves the way for Abbas and Hamas to become equal partners. Hamas is right: Why should it allow Abbas to sign a peace agreement with Israel once he has agreed to sit with Hamas when it continues to seek the destruction of Israel? As Hamas’s new partner, Abbas should as of now be held responsible for any terror attack that emanates from the Gaza Strip. Partnership entails accepting responsibility for the actions and rhetoric of your partners.

The bluff of Palestinian “reconciliation” is far from being about peace. Instead, it is about pursuing the fight against Israel and the “Zionist enterprise” — namely, Israel and Jews. In his accord with Hamas, Abbas has signed onto Hamas’s version of violent “resistance” against Israel and Jews. This is the real meaning of the Abbas-Hamas deal.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial

October 12, 2017

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial, DEBKAfile, October 12, 2017

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.

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Gaza’s Rafah crossing passes from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 1;  the enclave’s central administration – on Dec. 1

The Egyptian-brokered deal hailed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as “the end of the rift,” is cautiously seen in Cairo as a partial resolution of the dispute between the Fatah and Hamas rival factions.

The reconciliation accord was announced at dawn Thursday, Oct 10, by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh after night-long negotiations at the Egyptian intelligence ministry in Cairo. The promised news conference at which details of the agreement were to be revealed by Egyptian mediators and Palestinian officials did not take place.

Egyptian sources reveal that seven points of agreement were hammered out:

  1. The two Palestinian parties will meet in one month to set out the date and modalities for elections to the presidency and parliament.
  2. Before then, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will spend a few days in the Gaza Strip, his first visit there in a decade since Hamas ousted his Fatah party in a military coup..
  3. A joint Palestinian Authority-Hamas commission will determine procedures for the merger of the PA and Gaza governing administrations. The future of the 60,000 people employed by the Gaza administration must also be decided.
  4. In the next two weeks, Hamas will transfer into Egyptian hands control of the Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip to Egyptian Sinai.
  5. The Palestinian Authority will take charge of the Rafah crossing from Egyptian officials – not directly from Hamas.
  6. Up until the parties come to terms on Gaza Strip’s electricity bill – which the Palestinian Authority has refused to cover for months – Egypt and Israel will provide the enclave with fuel for running the grid.
  7. The main sticking point in the reconciliation process – control of Hamas’ armed wing and arsenal – appears to have been left out of the deal signed Thursday. Hamas has consistently objected to foregoing or sharing control of its militia. Non-Egyptian sources report that the Palestinian Authority is to deploy 30,000 members of its security battalions to the Gaza Strip, but make no mention of coordination between the two forces. Cairo does not refer to this question.

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.

Palestinian Normalization — With Hamas, Not Israel

October 11, 2017

Palestinian Normalization — With Hamas, Not Israel, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, October 11, 2017

The most widespread conspiracy theory, which has been floating around for decades and can be heard in almost every coffee shop on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah and Beirut, is that Zionist Jews, together with American capitalists and imperialists, have a secret plan to take control over the Arab and Islamic countries and their resources.

How exactly are the “Zionists and imperialists” trying to “undermine” the Palestinian “national project”? And what, precisely, is this project? Is it the project of Hamas and many other Palestinians that seeks the destruction of Israel?

The corrupt Arab and Palestinian leaders spread such rumors to divert attention from problems at home, such as corruption and dictatorship. These leaders want their people too busy hating Jews and Westerners to demand reform, democracy and transparency from their leaders. Those valuables, of course, are what Arab and Palestinian leaders still refuse to offer their people.

Why do many Palestinians prefer peace with Hamas? Because they identify with Hamas’s dream of destroying Israel and killing Jews. It may be an unpleasant a truth, but that is the bottom line.

When Palestinian women took part in a march with Israeli women for peace this week, they were condemned in the harshest terms by many other Palestinians, who called for their punishment. The Palestinian women who participated in the October 8 event, organized by a group called Women Wage Peace, have been denounced by many of their own people as “traitors” and “whores.”

Conversely, when Palestinian Authority (PA) officials held “reconciliation” talks with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and Egypt during the same period, many Palestinians praised them as “heroes” and “brave.”

Judging from the reactions of many Palestinians, especially on social media, they prefer peace with Hamas rather than with Israel.

The thousands of Palestinian women who participated in the march with Israeli women are being accused of promoting “normalization” with Israel. This, in the eyes of their critics, is an abhorrent and despicable act, tantamount to “high treason” — an offense punishable by death.

Palestinian and Israeli women from the “Women Wage Peace” group participate in an event on September 30, 2017. (Image source: Women Wage Peace/Facebook)

Prior to the women’s march, Palestinian activists waged an online bid to stop the Palestinian women from taking part in the “shameful” event. It was a vicious campaign that lasted for several days and that accused the Palestinian women of treason for promoting “normalization” with the “Israeli enemy.” One group, The Women’s Campaign for Boycotting Israeli Merchandise, said in a statement that the planned march was “hurtful to Palestinian and Arab and international efforts to boycott and isolate Israel.” The group pointed out that the march coincided with a “Zionist-imperialist onslaught to undermine the Palestinian national project.”

Exactly which “Zionist-imperialist” conspiracy these protesters are referring to remains unclear.

Such rhetoric, however, reflects the mindset in the Arab and Islamic world. The most widespread conspiracy theory, which has been floating around for decades and can be heard in almost every coffee shop on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah and Beirut, is that Zionist Jews, together with American capitalists and imperialists, have a secret plan to take control over the Arab and Islamic countries and their resources.

What does a peaceful march of Israeli and Palestinian women have to do with Zionism and imperialism? How exactly are the “Zionists and imperialists” trying to “undermine” the Palestinian “national project”?

And what, precisely, is this project? Is it the project of Hamas and many other Palestinians that seeks the destruction of Israel? Is it the project that still talks about a phased plan to destroy Israel by demanding a Palestinian state next to Israel so that it would be used in the future as a launching pad to eliminate Israel?

Palestinian and Arab leaders have long advanced anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Western conspiracy theories. Why do these leaders do so? For one purpose: distraction.

The corrupt Arab and Palestinian leaders spread such rumors to divert attention from problems at home, such as corruption and dictatorship. These leaders want their people too busy hating Jews and Westerners to demand reform, democracy and transparency from their leaders. Those valuables, of course, are what Arab and Palestinian leaders still refuse to offer their people.

Back to the controversial women’s march.

The abusive comments hurled against the Palestinian women who took part in the march are frankly embarrassing to read. Even the PLO committee that permitted the participation of the Palestinian women in the march is being pilloried by many Palestinians, with some calling for holding the PLO officials involved accountable.

The verbal abuse is reminiscent of the experience of teenage Palestinian girls who recently participated in a summer camp with Israeli girls in the US. The Palestinian girls endured a massive smear campaign for attending the summer camp, which was organized by Creativity for Peace, an organization in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Like the women from the march, the teenage girls were also cursed on social media and dubbed as “sluts” and “traitors.” The abuse reached the parents of the Palestinian girls, for allowing their daughters to commit the sin of dancing and mixing with Israeli (Jewish) girls. The girls, like the women, were also accused of promoting “normalization” with Israel.

Sadly, only a handful of Palestinians have thus far dared to come out in defense of the summer camp girls or the women who participated in the October 8 march.

While many Palestinians may be opposed to the brutal and senseless attacks on the girls and women, they are terrified of voicing their views in public. No one wants to get targeted by the abusers, especially if some of these people are affiliated with terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Palestinians have an unfortunate habit of allowing thugs and terrorists to intimidate them, control the discourse and set the agenda. This is certainly not new. Most Palestinians prefer to sit on the fence instead of speaking their minds. This is what happens when you live under ruthless dictatorships such as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas that suppress freedom of expression.

Yet this most recent exhibit has an ironic twist. Just as the women were shamed publicly for taking part in an event with Jewish women, many Palestinians were celebrating the “reconciliation” between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip took to the streets to express their jubilation over the “accord,” and when the PA Prime Minister and his delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, scenes of kissing and hugging were easy to spot.

What does all this teach us?

First, that many Palestinians continue to consider any form of contact with Jews and “normalization” with the “Zionist entity” an act of treason.

Second, that Palestinians do not hesitate to designate their own women as prostitutes and traitors for engaging in the most basic activities with Jews. Such disrespect for women is not, by the way, something that should surprise us about conservative Arab and Islamic societies.

Third, that for many Palestinians, the priority remains making peace with Hamas and not Israel. Why do they prefer peace with Hamas? Because they identify with Hamas’s dream of destroying Israel and killing Jews. It may be an unpleasant a truth, but that is the bottom line.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor

October 5, 2017

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, October 5, 2017

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

Palestinian ‘Reconciliation’: Jihad is Calling!

September 25, 2017

Palestinian ‘Reconciliation’: Jihad is Calling! Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, September 25, 2017

(To what extent does the “international community” agree with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that Israel must be destroyed? — DM)

Hamas insists on maintaining its terror and military capabilities in preparation for war against Israel.

At the risk of overwhelming the international community with troubling facts, here is a final one: Hamas aims to use the agreement with the Palestinian Authority as a smokescreen for concealing its true goal: the destruction of Israel.

Here is how it works: Hamas is telling Abbas, “You continue to pretend as if you want to talk peace with the Jews, while we prepare for war.”

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Leaders of Hamas maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

The accord with Hamas requires Mahmoud Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses.

Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

The Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

The Palestinian terror group Hamas has once again made clear that its true intention is to pursue the fight against Israel until the “liberation of Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, says that despite the latest “reconciliation” agreement reached with the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the auspices of the Egyptian government, it will continue to prepare for war with Israel.

While some Western analysts have misinterpreted the agreement as a sign that Hamas is moving towards moderation and pragmatism, leaders of the Islamist movement maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

Just last week, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels in which they were working collapsed, in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists were identified as Khalil Al-Dumyati and Yusef Abu Abed.

The news about the collapse of the tunnels coincided with the reports of the new “reconciliation” agreement reached in Cairo between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). This means that while the Egyptians and Abbas’s representatives were discussing with Hamas leaders ways of ending their 10-year-long dispute and achieving “national unity,” Hamas terrorists were busy tunneling under the Gaza Strip to prepare for attacks on Israel.

Pictured: On October 17, 2013, then U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro visited a tunnel penetrating Israel from Gaza, which had been discovered by the Israeli army. Shapiro said: “I was shocked from what I saw in the tunnel. It is clear that this tunnel has only one purpose: to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.” (Image source: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

The “reconciliation” accord does not require Hamas to stop terror attacks on Israel. Nor does it require Hamas to abandon its charter, which explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel. Instead, the agreement, which has yet to be implemented, requires Abbas’s PA government to resume funding for various government institutions and civil servants in the Gaza Strip.

In other words, this agreement benefits Hamas by absolving it of its responsibilities toward the two million Palestinians living under its control in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the agreement emboldens Hamas by allowing it to redirect its resources and energies towards amassing weapons and digging tunnels to be used for launching terror attacks against Israel. The accord requires Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza, reducing medical supplies and forcing thousands of civil servants in the Gaza Strip into early retirement. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses. All this in return for one “concession” on the part of Hamas: dismantling the shadow government it established in the Gaza Strip a few months ago — something to which Hamas happily agreed in return for Abbas lifting the sanctions.

Make no mistake: Hamas has no intention of relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Hamas “security officers” and members of its military wing, Ezaddin Al-Kassam, will remain the law-enforcement force in the Gaza Strip. This means that even if Abbas’s government will be allowed to operate in the Gaza Strip, it would have limited civilian powers only, such as paying salaries and funding various projects.

One week after the Cairo “reconciliation” agreement, Hamas is still urging Abbas to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip. Why the rush? Jihad against Israel is calling. Hamas’s message to Abbas: Hurry up and give us the funds because we need to invest our energies and money in building more tunnels and smuggling weapons (through Egypt) into the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has been seeking international recognition and legitimacy and is hoping that the agreement with Abbas’s Palestinian Authority will facilitate this mission. Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

This position was relayed last week to the Russian government by a senior Hamas delegation that visited Moscow. Hamas is hoping that in wake of the Egyptian-sponsored agreement with the PA, the Russians will exert pressure on the U.S. to remove Hamas from the terror list.

Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official who participated in the Moscow discussions, confirmed that he and his friends had asked the Russians for their help. “We asked the Russians to help stop the US from keeping Hamas on the (terror) list,” Abu Marzouk said. “We also asked that the Russians help remove the (Israeli and Egyptian) blockade on the Gaza Strip.” Abu Marzouk and the Hamas delegation appear to have found a sympathetic ear in Moscow. They now claim that the Russians told them that Moscow does not consider Hamas a terror organization “because Hamas won a free and fair (parliamentary) election in 2006.”

If true, the Russians seem to have bought the lie that Hamas is headed towards moderation and pragmatism, supposedly thanks to the latest “reconciliation” agreement. More disturbing still, concerning the reported Russian position, is that Moscow, it seems, does not view Hamas as a terror group; the reason for this omission is apparently that Hamas “won” an election. The Russians are ignoring the fact that since Hamas won in 2006, the terror movement has launched thousands of rocket and other terror attacks against Israel. The Russians are also ignoring Hamas’s continued buildup and preparation for war by digging tunnels and amassing weapons in the Gaza Strip. More significantly, the Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

How do the Russians and the rest of the world define “non-negotiable”? The same way as Abu Marzouk after the Moscow visit, with regards to the Hamas weapons: “The weapons of the resistance belong to all the Palestinians and are non-negotiable,” Abu Marzouk emphasized. “No one can tamper with this issue.”

The statement means that Hamas insists on maintaining its terror and military capabilities in preparation for war against Israel.

At the risk of overwhelming the international community with troubling facts, here is a final one: Hamas aims to use the agreement with the Palestinian Authority as a smokescreen for concealing its true goal: the destruction of Israel.

Here is how it works: Hamas is telling Abbas, “You continue to pretend as if you want to talk peace with the Jews, while we prepare for war.”

In the eyes of Hamas, the “reconciliation” agreement should serve as functional sharing between the PA and Hamas, with each side playing the role it wants. Abbas will go on pretending he wants peace, while Hamas builds more tunnels and acquires additional weapons. That is their real agenda: Hamas wants to collaborate with Abbas in fooling the world. Abbas’s job will be to “pursue peace” and rake in the money, while Hamas plans for the next round of terrorism against the Jews.

It remains to be seen whether the Western-funded Palestinian Authority will be complicit in this scheme to scam the world. Also interesting should be seeing whether the international community will once again fall into the web of lies woven by the master manipulators, Abbas and Hamas.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.