Fatah, Hamas announce reconciliation pact, new elections

posted at 2:41 pm on April 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

If the Middle East peace process wasn’t dying before today, it’s definitely on life support now. Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh announced a reunion of Fatah and Hamas as partners in the Palestinian Authority earlier today, calling new national elections and a single government to control Gaza and the West Bank. The agreement will end seven years of mutual hostility … assuming it works at all:

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact, both sides announced in a joint news conference.

The move, coming after a long line of failed efforts to reconcile after seven years of internal bickering, envisions a unity government within five weeks and national elections six months later.

“This is the good news we tell our people: the era of division is over,” Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said to loud applause at a Palestinian press conference also attended by representatives of the PLO.

Hamas is currently raining missiles down on Israel, which means that Abbas’ embrace means an end to negotiations. The Washington Post reported that Israel “criticized” the announcement. The Jerusalem Post reported that “criticism” turned into cancellation of talks (which the WaPo notes farther down in its article):

Israel cancelled a planned meeting Wednesday night with Palestinian officials over extending the negotiations in an apparent response to the earlier announcement of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. …

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that the Palestinian Authority had turned into a terrorist organization following the Fatah-Hamas agreement.

“We don’t talk to murderers,” Bennett stated. “The agreement between Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad brings the Middle East to a new diplomatic era. The Palestinian Authority turned into the largest terrorist organization in the world, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.” According to Bennett, Israel shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, just as the US does not talk to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda.

One Israeli minister called it a slap in the face to John Kerry and the US:

“This is a slap in the US and its Secretary of State’s face,” Katz told Army Radio. “Abbas said no to peace and no to real negotiations.” Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin remarked that the agreement “once again shows the true united goal of Hamas terrorists and Fatah leaders: To destroy the Jewish State.["]

Of course, this assumes that the deal will actually come to fruition. The Washington Post notes considerable reasons for skepticism:

Shimrit Meir, founding editor of Arabic media outlet “Al Masdar” (The Source), said that despite the announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the real test would be if Abbas would visit Gaza in the coming weeks.

“This is not the first ‘breakthrough’ between the two sides since 2007; we have been in this situation before,” she said, however, adding that there were some indications that this agreement could hold.

This time, she said, both sides are in difficult positions. Both have lost their popularity on the Palestinian street, Hamas has lost its support from Egypt and Iran, and Abbas is facing difficult challenges in reaching a peace agreement with the Israelis.

“Hamas wants to implement this agreement because they are very weak and need it now more than any time in the past,” said Meir. Abbas, she said, is indicating that he has made a choice to go with Hamas rather than trying to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process with Israel.

Jeff Dunetz predicts this will make life more difficult for Abbas internationally rather than better, unless Hamas renounces violence — and that’s not terribly likely:

While both Fatah and Hamas call for the destruction of Israel, Hamas is more overt in it’s threats making them in all languages and is considered a terrorist group even by the appeasement-prone European Union. Fatah, on the other hand is considered “moderate” because its call for the destruction of Israel are only made in Arabic.

Understandably, earlier this week Israeli PM Netanyahu said he would not negotiate with a government which includes Hamas unless it renounces violence and terrorism (which is as likely as Nancy Pelosi calling for the repeal of Obamacare).

This could allow for a sliver of opportunity to make progress. The problem with negotiating with Abbas is that he could wash his hands of Hamas. This brings all the issues into a single point of accountability on the Palestinian side. If Abbas can rope Hamas into a non-violence agreement and make it stick, then Israel could potentially resolve both the Gaza and West Bank issues comprehensively. However, the odds on that happening would be akin to winning the Powerball … three times … in a row.

Update: Don’t rush out and buy the Powerball tickets, Free Beacon warns:

A top Hamas official said that the newly announced Palestinian unity government “will not recognize ‘Israel’ and will not give up the resistance,” throwing into jeopardy the new ruling government’s access to U.S. assistance and other measures.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dissolve the long ruling Palestinian Authority and form a government with the terror group Hamas, which rules over the Gaza Strip. …

Events took another surprising turn this afternoon when top Hamas official Hassan Yousef announced that the terror group would not renounce its commitment to violence and the destruction of Israel, according to Palestinian groups monitoring the situation.

Hamas will not recognize Israel—a chief sticking point in peace talks with Abbas—and “will not give up the resistance,” which is widely interpreted to refer to Hamas’s ongoing terror attacks against Israeli civilians and military personnel.

A “surprising turn”? Naaaah, not really.


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Heckuva job there democrats.

Heckuva job.

Murphy9 on April 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Guess they decided that eliminating their common enemy was possible now.

Steve Eggleston on April 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

The talking horsehead is as worthless as Hillary.

Two accomplishments of the latter:

1. First SoS to visit Togo.

2. First one to have her ambassador killed.

Why do the Brits report on it and the Americans don’t?

Schadenfreude on April 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

The only peace treaty the Palestinians would truly agree to is one where Israelis agree to peacefully disband their country, peacefully hand every square inch of land over the the Palestinians and then peacefully kill themselves.

Even then the Palestinians would probably still complain and blame the US for all the dead Israelis littering the place.

TaraMaclay on April 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Why do the Brits report on it and the Americans don’t?

Schadenfreude on April 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Because the Brit’s aren’t trying to protect Barack Obama from impeachment or Hillary Clinton from Prison.

oscarwilde on April 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Fatah, on the other hand is considered “moderate” because its call for the destruction of Israel are only made in Arabic.

Which is why the mid-east “Peace Process” is simply kabuki theater. It’s best to spend no time or energy on this until the Palestinians agree that Israel has a right to permanently exist as a Jewish State.

Which they won’t do.

rbj on April 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

The agreement will end seven years of mutual hostility …

…..so that their hostilities can be focused on their common enemies….yyyaaaaayyyy…

burrata on April 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

What a coup for Kerry. If Fatah and Hamas unite, then Kerry can claim himself to be The Great Uniter, declare Peace in Our Time as he will in the Ukraine, and come home in triumph to a great ticker tape parade.

vnvet on April 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Uniting terrorists. Did he bring them together by warning them about climate change? Maybe he gave away some more of his medals. How much more money do we have to borrow to pay for this useless feel-good diplomatic masturbation?

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Kerry, now a full member of the Lollipop Guild, just as serious, and just as effective.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on April 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

What a coup for Kerry. If Fatah and Hamas unite, then Kerry can claim himself to be The Great Uniter, declare Peace in Our Time as he will in the Ukraine, and come home in triumph to a great ticker tape parade.

vnvet on April 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Do they give ticker tape parades in France?

kcewa on April 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Kerry takes another one on the chin!! Of course, that is a pretty easy target to hit!!

Deano1952 on April 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Thieves to unite with Terrorists to kill Jews.

News at 11.

BKennedy on April 23, 2014 at 3:10 PM

So has Hussein supplied them muzies with guns yet ?

burrata on April 23, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The swift boat coward strikes again. Epic fail!

rjoco1 on April 23, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The “peace process” has been going on since I was knee high to a grasshopper. The results are as you see. Ergo, I am continually amazed that anyone actually takes this stuff seriously anymore.

Xasprtr on April 23, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Do they give ticker tape parades in France?

kcewa on April 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Why not , since their streets look like this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7eDf4DSRHc

burrata on April 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Why not , since their streets look like this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7eDf4DSRHc

burrata on April 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Ho Lee Fuk

Murphy9 on April 23, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A united terrorist paliosimion front against our former ally Israel. If only Egypt had kept the muzzy brohood (Hillary’s accomplishment) Israel would be in more trouble.

For the fascist-democrats this is a ten times win. There is a Obama foreign policy and it’s called “Destroy.”

jukin3 on April 23, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Hamas is currently raining down missiles on Israel? Either the definition of currently has changed or someone is making stuff up again

bball3212 on April 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Hamas is currently raining down missiles on Israel? Either the definition of currently has changed or someone is making stuff up again

bball3212 on April 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Is April 21st current enough for you?

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.586519

TaraMaclay on April 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Do they give ticker tape parades in France?

kcewa on April 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Tickertape in France? Isn’t that too capitalistic?

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Good news, psychotics have allied with sociopaths.

Bishop on April 23, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Fatah, on the other hand is considered “moderate” because its call for the destruction of Israel are only made in Arabic.

I’m not sure that this is supposed to be sarcasm, or what…

HornHiAceDeuce on April 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

…Smart Power!

KOOLAID2 on April 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

“Mortal enemies, working together!”… To kill Jews. While Kerry beams.

Great.

mojo on April 23, 2014 at 4:43 PM

What’s there to talk about? Israel isn’t going anywhere, the muslims wont accept anything less. There’s nothing in the middle to negotiate.

V7_Sport on April 23, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I’m on vacation now, but didn’t I recently see the headline ‘Kerry a better SoS than Clinton’?

are they serious?

socalcon on April 23, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Kerry should return to swift boating it in Cambodia.

Annar on April 23, 2014 at 5:37 PM

“We’re teaming up, to destroy Israel!”

Ward Cleaver on April 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

OH NO! Now where will we send the checks?

Rea1ityCheck on April 23, 2014 at 9:54 PM