Quite apart from the intrinsically contradictory fundamental approach that would beset any Arab-Israel negotiations for a “Two-State Solution”, there is another basic problem. The Arabs are divided in two hostile camps. Fatah (P.L.O.) controls territory in the West Bank while Hamas maintains control of Gaza which it seized by force from Fatah.
The hostility between Fatah and Hamas encompasses a range of important political and ideological differences. But they share the same ultimate goal: the destruction of the State of Israel. In both the P.L.O.-Fatah and Hamas covenants that goal is specific, clearly stated, and glorifies “armed struggle” – all having been substantiated by both terrorist actions and repeated declarations.
Following Yasser Arafat’s death, Abu Mazen, the P.L.O.’s second-in-command, who, at Arafat’s side, was directly involved in many deadly terrorist acts over the years, now has the title of “President Abbas”. He has taken over command of Palestinian Arab governance (P.L.A.) and has attempted to transform his and the P.L.O.’s image by adopting a pretense of moderation to gain favor in the U.S. and the West. Unlike Arafat, he speaks, dresses and acts in a more “Western” fashion. This has allowed current U.S. policy-makers to ignore his terrorist past, to portray him now as a “moderate”, and to accept him as a partner in the pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace through a “Two-State Solution”.
These policy-makers also evade reference to the fact that despite Abbas’ supposed “moderation”, as Arafat’s First Deputy it was he who had instituted hate-education in the Palestinian Authority in 1994, and has sustained hate-education as Arafat’s successor. His “Strategy of Stages” and the articles in the P.L.O. covenant specifically calling for Israel’s destruction by “armed struggle” remain unchanged. In addition, Abbas and the P.L.O. still will not even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist; they insist on the immediate expulsion of all Jews from half of Jerusalem and territories the Arabs lost in the 1967 war of aggression, and they claim “the right of return” for millions of Arabs to a reduced Israel within its 1967 armistice lines, which in itself would mean the end of the Jewish national home.
The ultimate Abbas-P.L.O. goal remains the same as Arafat’s: the elimination of the Jewish State.
Seeing the true face of Fatah, what can be expected of the even more extreme Hamas? Unequivocally committed to Israel’s destruction and still continuing terrorist actions, a “transformation” is hardly credible. Nevertheless, Hamas has been pursued avidly by U.S. ex-officials and public figures implicitly representing the Obama administration, urging reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, so that they can appear as a single Palestinian entity for negotiations with Israel. Presumably for humanitarian aid, but in part at least to encourage that reconciliation, on June 9, 2010 President Obama granted $400,000,000 to be shared by the terrorist organizations, Fatah and Hamas. How the total sum is to be divided and who will control its actual disposition was not disclosed. However, with Hamas now receiving significant support and arms from Iran and Syria, “reconciliation” of Fatah and Hamas, it is unlikely and at best would be a very temporary affair, but it would open the door for even more U.S. pressure on Israel to make further hazardous territorial “concessions” toward the “Two-State Solution” – and to its Jihadist opponents, when the conflict clearly is not about territory.
*Dr. Arnold M. Soloway, President Emeritus and Founder of the Center for Near East Policy Research, earned a Doctorate degree in Economics at Harvard University in 1952, taught on its faculty until 1960, and was elected Chairman of the Graduate Society Council in 1982. Following his 1952 analysis of Boston’s financial problems, he was asked to and did serve on the Mayor’s Committee on Boston’s Finances from 1953-1957. From 1961-62 he served as Special Advisor on Fiscal Affairs to Governor John A. Volpe. From 1964-1966 he was Special Consultant to the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration. From 1974-1979 he was Director-at-Large, National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1978-79 he served as Chairman, Mayor’s Special Commission on Boston Public Housing. He was principal author of Truth and Peace in the Middle East, Friendly House, New York, 1971 and The Role of Arab Political Culture and History in the Conflict with Israel, Center for Near East Policy Research, April 1985.