Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Abbas-Misha'al Encounter:
What Is Next?
By Khalid Amayreh
PIC, November 28, 2011
Despite its inconclusiveness, the Cairo meeting between
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled
Misha'al was a positive step toward the restoration and even solidification
of Palestinian national unity.
It is hoped that subsequent efforts
promised by Fatah and Hamas will finally put an end to this erratic and
sorry episode of Palestinian life.
The meeting itself, especially the
positive spirit and optimistic tone surrounding it, drew angry reactions
from the Zionist.
The uninterrupted barking coming from the Shipyard
dogs in Tel Aviv threatened doom and gloom if the Palestinians reunified
their ranks. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly warned
that not a dime would be transferred to Palestinian coffers from the tax and
customs revenue levied by Israel on behalf of the PA in accordance with the
scandalous Paris economic protocol signed in Paris in 1994.
Notorious for his racist outlook and fascist mindset, Lieberman stopped
short of saying "that either the PA follows Israeli dictates to the letter,
or we will strangle the PA financially and economically."
Nazi-like tone must not intimidate the Palestinians or make them slow down
in pursuing national unity or rethink their legitimate national goals.
If we pay the slightest attention to Lieberman's barking, imagine how
vociferous and frenzied he and people of his ilk would look when we insist
on such paramount issues as Jerusalem and the right of return for millions
of displaced Palestinians who were uprooted and expelled from their homes in
what is now Israel when the evil entity came into being in 1948.
Hence, any genuine national reconciliation agreement involving Palestinian
factions, one that is worthy of the name, must be reached in spite of
Israel, not with her permission.
Mishaal and Abbas reportedly agreed
to hold elections by May. Details in this regard need to be finalized and
many serious questions need to be answered satisfactorily, otherwise the
organization of elections could prove to be a step backward.
of all, we have to remind ourselves that Israel, not the PA, controls the
West Bank and East Jerusalem since the Israeli occupation maintains its
provocative presence in every nook and cranny in the occupied territories.
This means that Israel, not the PA, has the final say with regard to
every detail pertaining to the elections. Believing or thinking otherwise is
an exercise of political naivety, to put it mildly.
is likely to prevent or at least seriously disrupt electioneering and
campaigning by Hamas, a main contender in the electoral process.
Israel is actually likely to arrest and imprison Hamas candidates before or
after the elections. Therefore, one is prompted to ask how Palestinian
factions, particularly Hamas, could consent to elections that would swell
the residents of Israeli dungeons and detention centers.
Hamas would obtain guarantees to forestall this prospect, which is too true
and too realistic to be hypothetical.
After all, dozens of Hamas
legislative council members, elected in 2006, are still languishing in
Israeli dungeons without charge or trial?
In any case, Hamas
must not approach this issue lightly because Israel is a venomous,
vindictive snake and her vehement enmity to every thing Islamist or even
Islamic has not abated an iota.
In short, Israel can't be trusted
and we don't need to repeat the previous experience, otherwise it would be a
real exercise in political stupidity, and imbecility.
I have no doubt
that the Hamas leadership at home and abroad are well aware of this
treacherous precipice. This makes it imperative for Hamas to explain to the
Palestinian people why it thinks that holding elections under the existing
circumstances is the right choice.
Hamas might seek guarantees from
Arab states that have diplomatic ties with Israel, particularly Egypt. But
would such guarantees be sufficient?
In any case, we all hope and
pray that the next elected government in Egypt, in which the Islamists would
have a strong influence, will create an absolute linkage between commitment
to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and Israel's treatment of the
But in the absence of an iron-clad commitment of this
sort, Hamas should never embark on an adventure whose end is not clear and
subject to Israeli whims.
More to the point, it is crystal clear that
objective circumstances are conspicuously absent for holding true elections
in the West Bank. Today, and regardless to the overwhelming Israeli factor,
the PA remains more or less a police state apparatus. People exercising
their human rights and civil liberties are routinely persecuted and arrested
because they are deemed "non-conformist."
Besides, the PA has been
using schools, public media, colleges, and all public institutions to
indoctrinate people into supporting Fatah and resenting Hamas.
means that a great deal of desensitization must be carried out in order to
give all factions equal chances in the election process. Some people would
suggest that the elections be postponed a few more months in order to
further affect the process of desensitization.
factions, all of them, must be faithful to Palestinian national constants,
including the right of return for Palestinian refugees as well as Jerusalem.
In addition, Fatah and Hamas must also be honest with regard to the
possibility of dismantling the Palestinian Authority if and when it becomes
amply clear that the PA has become a liability rather than an asset for the
Palestinian quest for freedom and independence, including the creation of a
viable and territorially contiguous state on 100% of the occupied