Twice before the world has sought to prevent the Islamists from governing — after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections and, a year later, when it formed a coalition with Fatah. Twice, the world made a mess of things. The balance sheet is unequivocal: Hamas remains entrenched in Gaza; Fatah is no stronger; and, without elections or genuine pluralistic political life, democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories have rusted.
Sometimes facts are just inconvenient things. What Malley refuses to mention that that it was Hamas that threw out the “democratic institutions” with a military operation that threw Fatah out of Gaza. And a major reason Hamas and Fatah haven’t reconciled before was Hamas’ desire to perpetuate its violence against Israel–omething it has done very well, when you consider the fact that since Hamas took over Gaza, it is responsible for launching over 5,000 missiles, mortars, etc., into civilian areas of Israel.
The only reason Fatah is ready to unite with Hamas despite its more blatant violence, is that in September they intend to get the United Nations General Assembly’s help in unilaterally declaring an Arab Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital. They need the cooperation of Hamas to get this through.
The most persuasive case against unity has been that it would dash prospects for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Even then, this was never a particularly convincing argument. For it was hard to imagine a fractured national movement reaching a peace agreement, let alone implementing and sustaining it. Palestinian reconciliation was more likely a prerequisite than an obstacle to peace.
But now? The peace process is lifeless. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have not met in months. Palestinians, convinced that they will get nothing from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and little from the United States, are focused on getting the U.N. General Assembly to endorse their call for statehood. In this context, Netanyahu’s insistence that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas is the emptiest of threats.
Oh boy, Uncle Yassir would be so proud. Again Malley is not being truthful. Since Netanyahu became prime minister, he as called for a two-state solution and constantly called for negotiations. When Netanyahu enacted his ten-month building freeze, PA President Abbas waited nine months to agree to talk and used the scheduled end of the freeze to stop talking. More than once during the past few years, Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and has insisted in order for there to be peace millions of Palestinians must be allowed to move into Israel as to negate its Jewish majority.
Giving credit where it is due, Malley does have one thing correct: with the “Arab Awakening” throughout the Middle East, existing regimes are more likely to be replaced with governments even more radical.
For Hamas, Mubarak’s fall likewise was decisive. An Egyptian government more in tune with public opinion coupled with a more powerful Muslim Brotherhood — Hamas’s parent organization — augurs a far warmer bilateral relationship. Growing unrest in Syria is another factor. The embattled Syrian regime, having offered safe harbor to Hamas’s leadership for a decade, wants to collect the rent — through overt signs of loyalty and support. Hamas has officially backed the regime but tepidly, out of reluctance to alienate its power base of Palestinian refugees and conservative Sunnis in Syria and beyond. Hamas calculates that even without immediate regime change, the Syrian regime inevitably will be transformed, its brutal crackdown having eroded much of its domestic credibility and regional influence. Tilting toward Cairo, a more important actor in the long run and more legitimate among Hamas’s constituency, was the safer bet. Accepting the Egyptian-brokered deal was a first step.
However, he uses that analysis as a stepping stone for more misinformation:
For political and legal reasons, the Obama administration cannot embrace a unity government (his subtle allusion to that nefarious Jewish Lobby)
….Beyond discomfort at Cairo’s improved relations with Hamas, is it not in America’s interest to see an influential Egypt critical of Israel yet committed to its peace accord; whose relationship with the United States is strong but not servile, and whose stances are more consistent with domestic and regional opinion?
Even under Mubarak, Egypt has always been critical of Israel. The difference we are learning (but Malley ignores) is that it is the “new” Egypt which is critical of Israel and wants to trash the peace. It is not in America’s interest to have one Islamist terrorist group to begin to influence an Egyptian government on the precipice of being run by the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
Might this not weaken Iran, which benefited from using Mubarak’s regime as a foil, and whose regional weight will deflate with the rise of a credible Arab counter-model? How would attempts to torpedo the agreement affect relations with this new Egypt — and, more broadly, with a newly assertive Arab public? Is Washington better off if Hamas feels compelled to drift from Tehran and Damascus toward Cairo? If the Muslim Brotherhood plays a more central role in Egypt, how might it influence Hamas? How might U.S. engagement with the Brotherhood influence that influence?
OK let me understand this for a second. The Muslim Brotherhood considers Iran its role model. Hamas and Iran have been allies for a very long time. If Hamas drifts away from Tehran toward Cairo, isn’t it drifting back toward Tehran? I know, Malley is just trying to confuse me–either that or trying to mislead the reader.
Then again, that is Malley’s modus operandi–confuse, distort and lie, I guess that’s what makes him the prefect Middle East guru for an organization “owned” by George Soros. Sadly, when a progressive newspaper such as the Washington Post publishes an op-ed from people like Mr. Malley, whose anti-Israel opinion matches their editorial philosophy, they feel no need to explain his background. This omission is a disservice to the newspaper’s readers.