The Abbas-Mishaal encounter: what is next?

Truth does not matter for “Israel”. Buttons Do. To mute.

PIC | 24/11/2011 – 11:30 PM | Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

Despite its inconclusiveness, the Cairo meeting between Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Misha’al was a positive step toward the restoration and even solidification of Palestinian national unity.

It is hoped that subsequent efforts promised by Fatah and Hamas will finally put an end to this erratic and sorry episode of Palestinian life.

The meeting itself, especially the positive spirit and optimistic tone surrounding it, drew angry reactions from the Zionist.

The uninterrupted barking coming from the Shipyard dogs in Tel Aviv threatened doom and gloom if the Palestinians reunified their ranks. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly warned that not a dime would be transferred to Palestinian coffers from the tax and customs revenue levied by Israel on behalf of the PA in accordance with the scandalous Paris economic protocol signed in Paris in 1994.

Notorious for his racist outlook and fascist mindset, Lieberman stopped short of saying “that either the PA follows Israeli dictates to the letter, or we will strangle the PA financially and economically.”

The Nazi-like tone must not intimidate the Palestinians or make them slow down in pursuing national unity or rethink their legitimate national goals.

If we pay the slightest attention to Lieberman’s barking, imagine how vociferous and frenzied he and people of his ilk would look when we insist on such paramount issues as Jerusalem and the right of return for millions of displaced Palestinians who were uprooted and expelled from their homes in what is now Israel when the evil entity came into being in 1948.

Hence, any genuine national reconciliation agreement involving Palestinian factions, one that is worthy of the name, must be reached in spite of Israel, not with her permission.

Mishaal and Abbas reportedly agreed to hold elections by May. Details in this regard need to be finalized and many serious questions need to be answered satisfactorily, otherwise the organization of elections could prove to be a step backward.

First of all, we have to remind ourselves that Israel, not the PA, controls the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the Israeli occupation maintains its provocative presence in every nook and cranny in the occupied territories.

This means that Israel, not the PA, has the final say with regard to every detail pertaining to the elections. Believing or thinking otherwise is an exercise of political naivety, to put it mildly.

Besides, Israel is likely to prevent or at least seriously disrupt electioneering and campaigning by Hamas, a main contender in the electoral process.

Israel is actually likely to arrest and imprison Hamas candidates before or after the elections. Therefore, one is prompted to ask how Palestinian factions, particularly Hamas, could consent to elections that would swell the residents of Israeli dungeons and detention centers.

Perhaps Hamas would obtain guarantees to forestall this prospect, which is too true and too realistic to be hypothetical.

After all, dozens of Hamas legislative council members, elected in 2006, are still languishing in Israeli dungeons without charge or trial?

In any case, Hamas must not approach this issue lightly because Israel is a venomous, vindictive snake and her vehement enmity to every thing Islamist or even Islamic has not abated an iota.

In short, Israel can’t be trusted and we don’t need to repeat the previous experience, otherwise it would be a real exercise in political stupidity, and imbecility.

I have no doubt that the Hamas leadership at home and abroad are well aware of this treacherous precipice. This makes it imperative for Hamas to explain to the Palestinian people why it thinks that holding elections under the existing circumstances is the right choice.

Hamas might seek guarantees from Arab states that have diplomatic ties with Israel, particularly Egypt. But would such guarantees be sufficient?

In any case, we all hope and pray that the next elected government in Egypt, in which the Islamists would have a strong influence, will create an absolute linkage between commitment to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

But in the absence of an iron-clad commitment of this sort, Hamas should never embark on an adventure whose end is not clear and subject to Israeli whims.

More to the point, it is crystal clear that objective circumstances are conspicuously absent for holding true elections in the West Bank. Today, and regardless to the overwhelming Israeli factor, the PA remains more or less a police state apparatus. People exercising their human rights and civil liberties are routinely persecuted and arrested because they are deemed “non-conformist.”

Besides, the PA has been using schools, public media, colleges, and all public institutions to indoctrinate people into supporting Fatah and resenting Hamas.

This means that a great deal of desensitization must be carried out in order to give all factions equal chances in the election process. Some people would suggest that the elections be postponed a few more months in order to further affect the process of desensitization.

Finally, Palestinian factions, all of them, must be faithful to Palestinian national constants, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees as well as Jerusalem.

In addition, Fatah and Hamas must also be honest with regard to the possibility of dismantling the Palestinian Authority if and when it becomes amply clear that the PA has become a liability rather than an asset for the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence, including the creation of a viable and territorially contiguous state on 100% of the occupied territories.

Source and more at the Palestinian Information Center

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