Monday, June 02, 2014

Fatah and Hamas Unity Government Sworn In: There Goes The Neighborhood

The Israel Project hosted a conference call discussing the new Palestinian unity government between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist group. The speaker was Dr. Kobi Michael, senior lecturer in political science at Ariel University and the INSS, and former Deputy Director General at Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Here are some of the key points Dr. Michael made, centering on:

  • How the new government will duplicate the Hezbollah model in Lebanon, supporting the Hamas terrorist infrastructure
  • Support for the new unity government is support for the Hamas terrorist group
  • Support of the unity government by the international community will underscore the worthlessness of international commitments, and further undercut trust in the international community
  • The fact that Hamas is willing to join this unity government means its nature will be closer to Hamas than to Fatah -- talking about the 3 conditions originally voiced by the Quartet are now irrelevant
Here are the excerpts from Dr. Kobi Michael's talk:
  • This government actually becomes a platform for supporting the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, the political infrastructure as well as the mil infrastructure, because this govt will be able and will be required as well to support the Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. And, in this regard, we are duplicating...the Hezbollah model, by having two factions where each faction has its military wing...Hamas is not going to dismantle its military capabilities in the Gaza Strip, as well as the Fatah or the PA is not going to dismantle its mil and sec capabilities in the West Bank...This is... the Lebanonization of the Palestinian arena.

  • Hamas is a terrorist organization, recognized as a terrorist organization by the international community...and this is a terrorist organization which calls for the destruction of the state of Israel publicly and in a very explicit way. And therefore, the idea that a unified government of the Palestinians supported by the Hamas will be supported by the international community...means that actually this support is support for Hamas as a terrorist organization.

  • Hamas, which basically ignores the Oslo agreement, becomes part of the Palestinian government of the PA, which is a result of the Oslo agreement. And, the idea that the international community will support it in this way...will indicate that there is no meaning to the commitments which are done by the international community and it will make the Israeli public as well as some other political players in the region, more skeptical regarding the required or the possible intervention of the international community in some future conflicts.

  • There is no meaning to the idea that this government will be committed to the three conditions made by the Quartet because all the ministers, the appointment of the ministers in this government, were approved by Hamas and therefore Hamas has a say in this regard. And it doesn't mean what this government will say publicly, what is more important is what will be the real nature of this government. And the real nature of this government will be closer to Hamas than to Fatah, otherwise Hamas would not have supported this government.
The ministers and prime minister of the new Palestinian unity government
 swear in front of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
Photograph: Mustafa Bader/Zuma Press/Corbis. Credit: The Guardian

Jonathan Schanzer has already pointed out that Hamas Participation In Palestinian Government Likely Won’t Trigger Cut-Off, since the laws in place for cutting off such aid contain allowances for exceptions that the Obama administration is sure to jump on.

As to the degree of opposition from Congress -- that remains to be seen.

And when it comes to Europe, we already know what to expect.

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