On Thursday, Hamas, formally defined by the U.S. and almost all Western nations as an Islamist terrorist organization, formally assumed the reigns of the provisional government of the Palestinian Authority, without relinquishing its principles.
The expectation is that it will gain full international legitimacy. All this without recognizing Israel or giving up terror.
The question remains: How will that come about?
In the platform of this new Palestinian government, there is a clause which states that the new government, led by Hamas and not by the PLO which had been ruling the Palestinian Authority until now, will not recognize Israel, yet that it will honor all agreements which the PLO ratified with Israel. This recognition carries a double meaning.
Indeed, the Oslo “declaration of principles” denounced violence and was publicly signed by Yassir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993.
However, what received very little press attention was that it was never ratified by the PLO. When the Oslo agreement was brought to a vote by the PLO executive on October 6, 1993, there was no quorum and no ratification, and it was subsequently never ratified by the PLO.
The other agreement that the PLO made with Israel as part of the Oslo Accord involved the absolute PLO obligation to cancel the PLO covenant which calls for the destruction of Israel.
Indeed, the PLO covenant was discussed in two special sessions of the Palestine National Council on April 24, 1996 and on December 14, 1998.
The latter session was in the presence of President Clinton. However, the PLO never canceled its covenant, which remains its charter – to obliterate the state of Israel.
So when the new Palestinian government declares that it will abide by agreements that were ratified by the PLO, that will not include recognition of Israel, denunciation of violence or cancellation of the PLO covenant which calls for Israel’s liquidation.
Since the nations of the world and the international press perceive that the PLO agreed to both the “declaration of principles” and the cancellation of the PLO covenant, the Hamas government’s recognition of the PLO’s previously signed agreements with Israel will be misunderstood as a gesture of reconciliation and progress toward Middle East peace.