Hamas return to national government will cease peace process

Politics Materials 28 February 2009 13:58 (UTC +04:00)
Hamas return to national government will cease peace process

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 28 / Trend , U.Sadigova/

If Hamas becomes part of national Palestinian government, Israel will cease peaceful negotiations with the Palestinians, freezing the Palestinian-Israeli peaceful process.

On Feb. 27 in Cairo, the representatives Fatah and Hamas - two Palestinian opposing political parties - signed an agreement on establishment of a temporary national government of Palestine by the end of March.

The Cairo agreement put an end to the political differences between ruling Fatah and resistance movement Hamas, which have been continuing since 2007, when Hamas gained control over Gaza Strip, expelling the troops of Fatah from there.

The talks were also attended by the representatives of 11 Palestinian parties.

Palestinian fractions reached an agreement on establishment of five committees which must form a national government of Palestine.

Committees will deal with the re-establishment of the national unity, creation of a new government, re-establishment of the united system of law-enforcement agencies, reformation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and also organization of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, which will take place in 2010.

The representative of Hamas in the negotiations, Musa Abu Marzuk, said that the members of movement will deal with the organization of the elections in the autonomies, of which results will be recognized by all Palestinian parties.

The differences between Fatah and Hamas, which caused civil war and collapse of the central government, began after the victory of Hamas in the parliamentary elections in 2006. The leader of Palestinian autonomy Mahmoud Abbas did not recognize election results and in 2007 ordered to dissolve the government.

Negotiations between Fatah and Hamas were renewed after the completion of the Israeli military operation "Cast lead" in the Gaza Strip in January, which continued 22 days and destroyed the entire military and administrative infrastructure of Hamas. The military actions of Israel in Gaza killed 1,300 Palestinians, and the losses of the Israeli side composed 14 people, including four innocent civilians.

However, despite long-standing controversy with Hamas leaders, Mahmoud Abbas said that the international community should recognize the Palestinian national unity government, which will include representatives of Hamas, to overcome the humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

If Hamas is recognized as a full participant in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Israel may refuse to negotiate with the national government of Palestine.

If Hamas enters the national government Israeli government won't negotiate with the government that includes the party that is dedicated to destruction of the Jewish state, Israeli political scientist Yefraim Inbar said.

Despite the agreement to overcome the internal political splits, positions of Hamas and Fatah disagree with regard to Israel and the peace process.

Fatah advocates resolving of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through international negotiations and recognition of Israel's right to exist. Hamas refuses to dialogue with Tel Aviv until blockade of Gaza has been lifted and Palestinian territories (West Bank and East Jerusalem that were occupied as a result of the 1967 war) liberated.

One of Hamas leaders Ismail Ridvan said that the movement would agree to establish national government only provided that Palestinians' right to resist Israeli occupation is recognized.

Hamas began the struggle against Israel in 1987, a year before the first Palestinian uprising - intifada. Israel, the U.S. and the EU proclaimed the movement as a terrorist organization. 

Hamas leaders refuse to recognize Fatah-Israel agreements that are the basis of the international truce principles.

"Israel won't negotiate, because it is government which includes party that intends to destroy Israel, it is their ideology," Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies head Yefraim Inbar told Trend in a telephone conversation. 

Another Israeli analyst, Hilal Frisch, agrees with Inbar. He said that by including Hamas in the national government Mahmoud Abbas demonstrates his indifference to the peace negotiations.

"It is very academic, it wont' be successful and it will make the new problems, Israel wont' continue the negotiations until Hamas won't accept Israel," BESA leading political scientist Hilal Frisch told Trend in a telephone conversation.

Israel will continue to negotiate only with Abbas, but if there will be a unity government Abbas won't be able to decide anything, he said.

The future of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations also depends on the new Israeli Government, which may be headed by Likud representative Binyamin Netanyahu. He wants the dialogue with Palestinians to be ceased.

Hamas refuses to recognize agreements signed between Fatah and Israel. Abbas said success of the dialogue within the Palestine depends on Hamas' readiness to comply with agreements signed with Tel-Aviv earlier. He said this the only way for the international recognition of the national unity government. University of East Anglia lecturer in international relations Nicola Pratt believes that Likud will negotiate neither with Hamas nor current Palestinian government.

"However, given that a Likud-led government will not be committed to a 2-state solution, it is unlikely that such a government would be willing to negotiate meaningfully even with a Palestinian government that does not contain Hamas," Pratt wrote to Trend in an email.

Palestinian analyst Mehdi Abdel Hadi said Israel lacks a government which would define policy of the Palestine-Israel dialogue.

"If earlier talks were held between two sides [Palestine and Israel], now it is international talks which involves the U.S. and EU," Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs head Abdel Hadi told Trend . "Israel should change its position in relation to talks."

Abdel Hadi said the dialogue was ceased for three reasons: victory of rights in election to Knesset, war in Gaza and non-recognition of Palestinians' rights to Jerusalem.

Israel annexed Jerusalem and announced it its administrative center in 1982.

International mediators in talks including the EU support Israel-Hamas dialogue.

Former UN special coordinator on Middle East Peace Process Alvaro De Soto published a letter in The Times. The letter said Israel must reconsider its position on Hamas for the sake of progress in the peace process.

Failure to make progress in talks will ultimately strengthen support for the uncompromising position of Hamas and jeopardize future peace talks, Pratt said.

"Unfortunately, until now, the international community has failed to take the necessary steps to pressure Israel and, instead, has focused its concerns on Hamas," Pratt said. "International community must exert pressure on Israel."

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