Sunday, May 14, 2006

Arab News: "Shift in Hamas Stance"

New straws for graspers:
The document that has been hammered out by Palestinian activists in Israeli jails, including Hamas members, would implicitly recognize Israel. The proposals are a serious effort to extricate Palestinians from their economic crisis by way of a major shift in Hamas ideology which, in turn, might lead to a breakthrough in the search for peace.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was naturally quick to welcome the proposals. He is eager for a swift return to the negotiating table. The big surprise is the praise the proposals have received from Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar. Though they have fallen short of officially endorsing the document, the fact that neither denounced it outright is all the more reason to hope.

The proposals call for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War: the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This is the very formula that Fatah has long accepted and Hamas has long opposed. Notably, the document also asserts that Palestinians have the right to attack Israelis in the West Bank, but that Israel itself should be off-limits to bombings and shootings. Thus, while resistance would be limited to the occupied territories, the proposals seem to exclude attacks on Israel itself. The document is not entirely Israeli-friendly. It also includes Palestinian demands which Israel rejects — the return of millions of Palestinian refugees to homes in what is now Israel and a complete withdrawal from all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The article admits:
While Hamas officials in Gaza and the West Bank were debating the document, the group’s top political leader, Syria-based Khaled Meshaal, told a conference in Qatar that Fatah and Hamas should unite behind a platform of “liberating Palestine, not recognizing Israel and adopting the path of jihad and resistance.”
If the Palestinians are prepared for peace, then let them turn to the pursuits of peace. Statements, documents, and declarations are all meaningless. They have spent years indoctrinating their children for war and it isn't going to change overnight, no matter what momentary betrayals of their own ideals they make in expectation of large sums of money. Let the buyer beware.

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