MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
The Palestinian Arena: The National unity Government might not come!
In contrast to the optimism that obtained until this last week, the Palestinian Unity Government might not come to existence, five points about the Government are agreed upon between Hamas and Fatah, while the important other four points are still problematic.
The agreed upon points are:
1- The Prime Minister should be an Independent personality from Gaza who will also be nominated by Hamas (Note that: He should be a man and also from Gaza only). The deputy of the Prime Minister will be nominated on the other hand by Fatah.
2- That half of the Ministers should be from Gaza and half from the West Bank (so far the percentage in the previous Government was about 1:1.4 between Gaza and the West Bank).
3- That each faction will get seats in the new government according to the percentage of its representation in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Also representatives of the private sector and independent personalities will be included in the government.
4- That the big political personalities will not be participating in the Unity Government.
5- That the Executive Security force organized by Hamas will be preserved as an independent force from all the other Security Forces.
In contrast to that agreement on procedural and organizational issues, the two sides still have these big political problems:
The First: The Unity Government will not be declared without an agreement with Israel for releasing Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons within an exchange agreement with the Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit.
The Second: That the establishment of the government will be also a subject of reaching a reciprocal Hudna with Israel.
The Third: The establishment of the government is also a subject to a prior international guarantees to lift the sanctions imposed on the Palestinians.
The Fourth: Although it is agreed upon in Hamas and Fatah dialogue that there will be no political program for the government, but it is also decided that the government will follow the guidelines of an Appointment Letter that will be prepared by Abu-Mazen upon an agreement between the two sides on its content.
So for no agreement was made with Israel on a isoners exchange deal, no agreement with Israel on reciprocal Hudna, no international prior guarantees in regard to the sanctions, no agreed upon appointment letter was prepared. Therefore it seems that Dr. Muhammad Shbeer the person nominated y Hamas to be the Unity Government Prime Minister,will wait for a long time till he will receive the appointment letter from the President Abu-Mazen.
Against that background the Hamas resumption of its participation in the last week in launching rockets on the Israeli town of Sderot leading to a killing of an Israeli woman, and injuries of few others, is understood not only a reaction to Beit Hanoun Israeli jets crime against Palestinian Civilians, but it is also a massage in two directions: One toward Abu-Mazen telling him: We will not allow you to make concessions free of charge to Israel via resuming the Israeli negotiations with you, while Olmert is not ready to make any move forward. The second one is a message to Israel telling it that nothing will work without an agreed upon Hudna with Hamas (reciprocal Hudna). Also Hamas is telling Israel: You can attack by air and by tanks, you can kill as many as you want, invade whenever you like, but you cannot break our readiness to resist and our ability to make 1,000 Israelis leave Sderot to other safe places in Israel as happened in the last week when this 1,000 moved to Eilat. You can, as Israel, do great harm to us, but we can annoy you, and we will keep doing that till we get to agree to a reciprocal Hudna. Hamas response to a Peace Activist in Ramallah last week was also self explanatory: "What did you do that you call yourself a peace activist? Israel is not moving and not giving you anything while with primitive rockets we were able to oblige 1,000 Sderot Israelis to leave, and therefore we will continue this fruitful pressure on Israel no matter suffering we will have till we bring Israel to accept reciprocity and not to continue acting arrogantly and one-sidedly with us."
Moreover it can be said that Hamas is also exploiting Abu-Mazen's inability to respond positively to the Olmert invitation for a joint meeting, because Olmert is still not giving anything to Abu-Mazen to bring to his people as an achievement! Also Hamas thinks that the UN General Assembly condemnation of Israeli acts in Beit Hanoun makes this a good time for them to act in order to pressure Israel to give something to the Palestinians. Hamas also is encouraged in this direction by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic States (OIS) decision to break the sanctions imposed on the Palestinians.
Finally on their side, Abu-Mazen and Fatah are at an impasse with the rise of Hamas power and tactics, On the one hand Hamas is not allowing him to negotiate, and on other hand Olmert is giving nothing to him. This leads to the Israeli arena.
The situation in the Israeli Arena
After his failure to stop the rockets from Gaza, the Israeli Minister of Defence Amir Peretz called Abu-Mazen yesterday in order to ask his help in stopping the rockets. Peretz had reached the conclusion: "It will not work" with the Palestinians by military means, therefore political means are needed. Tzipi Livni the Minister of Foreign Affairs also came to the same conclusion She said last week that there is an urgent need for a political move! She also met with Shimon Peres in order to discuss with him the types of political moves to be taken. Moreover, government member Meir Sheetrit called for negotiations with Syria.
In contrast to the Peretz-Livini-Sheetrit moves, the new Minister Leiberman called on Israel to declare Abu-Mazen irrelevant, and to begin war against Hamas leaders. In the middle is Olmert, who is stuck by the failures in Lebanon and Gaza, and the failure of the re-alignment plan in the West Bank. He criticized an Israel billionaire's initiative to transfer Sderot inhabitants to Eilat. Until ten days ago he was in a crisis, looking for a new political banner that would fill the vacuum created after the freezing of re-alignment plan. He might find that by escaping from the impasse and attacking Iran’s nuclear installations, but also by putting the re-alignment plan up for negotiations with Abu-Mazen, which obviously will not present a point of departure from Palestinian point of view,
People with good intentions, who think that the Palestinians should deliver first in order to encourage Israel to move, should give up with these ideas. Hamas will not accept these ideas on the one hand, but more importantly the Palestinian people will not accept these ideas, while asking at the same time the legitimate question: Why we should make a move while we are seeing the Israelis are not presenting anything meaningful? We should first be given guarantees that we will get something if we moved, otherwise it will catastrophic as happened with all the lessons of free of charge concessions that we made as Palestinians through the Oslo process. They will add: “Now we learned a lesson, and we will not repeat the mistakes of the past, and nothing now on will be given free of charge!”
Also the conclusion that "Sanctions worked with Hamas," should be re-evaluated. Hamas is not moving under the pressure of Sanctions, they are making political maneuvers in order to sustain their political program as was shown earlier. One can continue convincing him/herself about the contradictions between Haniyyah as a moderate and Mashal/Zahhar as extremists in Hamas, but the bad news for this direction of thinking is this: in the last week Hamas became united when it comes to their conditions to join the Unity Government mentioned earlier.
In this situation, the relevant strategy will be to stop asking the Palestinians to deliver first, but go back to the first simple fact; that is, that the evil began with occupation. Therefore here we should begin: In this direction, the strategy of the Israeli peace movements should stop pressuring the Palestinians, but should move to organize actions inside Israel in order to pressure the Israeli government to move politically towards if not a comprehensive Middle Eastern solution, to at least a solution in Israel-Palestine. The international Civil Society should also move towards pressuring their politicians, Tony Blair's attempt and also the Spanish-French initiative are encouraging signals that one can build on in the coming near future. Even the Olmert office distributed news today that something might come out soon with the Palestinians. These processes need to be persistently followed. The Israel Peace activists meeting with Olmert this coming week and the coming ones are an encouraging sign, but they should tell him to forget the re-alignment plan and to make two other moves: One to allow some Kadima people to meet with Hamas people in order to get to a Hudna reciprocal agreement, and if that is not possible to get to an agreement for a reciprocal ceasefire, and the second is to begin quiet talks with Abu-Mazen people in order to decide the details of a permanent solution that will be implemented in a short period not to exceed three years. This way is opposite to the stalemate, and also opposite to conflict management steps that proved to be not useful and that will lead only in one direction: A Big Regional War!
Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000535.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.
Replies: 5 comments
People with good intentions, who think that the Israelis should deliver first in order to encourage the Palestinians to move, should give up with these ideas. The Israeli right will not accept these ideas on the one hand, but more importantly the Israeli people will not accept these ideas, while asking at the same time the legitimate question: Why we should make a move while we are seeing the Palestinians are not presenting anything meaningful? We should first be given guarantees that we will get something if we moved, otherwise it will catastrophic as happened with all the lessons of free of charge concessions that we made as Israelis through the Oslo process. They will add: ?Now we learned a lesson, and we will not repeat the mistakes of the past, and nothing now on will be given free of charge!?
Walid Salem is not wrong. But he should be aware that Israel is a mirror image. Israel made concessions, that resulted in violence. The Israeli peace camp was discredited. The Palestinians should demand something from themselves and not expect Israel to do all the work.
Posted by Micha @ 11/21/2006 05:10 PM CST
There seems to be a presumption on the part of Walid Salem, Hamas and Fatah, that any Palestinian political group has any credibility with Israel. I don't think there is any doubt that the Israeli government can control the IDF. Yet contained in Salem's interesting article is the statement that Hamas only recently resumed firing rockets into Sderot.
The claim that sanctions are not working against Hamas may be true if Hamas is recieving massive donations from countries outside of the US & EU. But sanctions can take a very long time to take effect and we still do not if they will have an impact. However, as Hamas cannot comply with EU funding requirements it would be breaching EU law to resume aid to the current PNA. MEP's and the EU Auditors are very unlikely to agree to the rules being bent for Hamas, especially given the battle they had with the Commissioners over the very same issue.
Posted by Rod Davies @ 11/21/2006 09:47 PM CST
How can we accept a Hudna knowing that this does not mean [peace but only an interruption of the fighting until such time that the enemy is better prepared for another round?
Posted by JONATHAN MEYER @ 11/22/2006 01:35 PM CST
"How can we accept a Hudna knowing that this does not mean [peace but only an interruption of the fighting until such time that the enemy is better prepared for another round?
The same way we accepted the ceasefire agreements in 1949, and subsequent ceasefires in 1956, 67, 73. It is not in the interest of Israel to have a continued war of attrition with the Palestinians. It is better for us to have temporary quiet in order to prepare our army, while also enjoying the other benefits of temporary quiet.
Posted by Micha @ 11/22/2006 06:40 PM CST
"we are posed with two options; either Hamas has been lying and the Hudna has been a fiction for PR purposes. Or Hamas does not have control over the various forces in Gaza."
Turning this around, you could argue that since the Israeli government could not control the actions of Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli government is not competent and cannot be negotiated with.
Those who are at root not interested in negotiation but only in capitulation will always find some excuse not to talk.
Posted by Spike @ 11/30/2006 03:07 PM CST
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