Hamas! Don’t drink the poisoned chalice ~ by Khalid Amayreh

[ PIC 21/04/2013 – 09:54 PM ]

By Khalid Amayreh

images_News_2013_04_21_elections01_300_0[1]I hope Hamas will be sufficiently vigilant these days and not be duped into drinking the poisoned chalice being prepared for it under the misleading rubric of holding general elections in the West Bank.

Last night, Israeli occupation troops raided the homes and dorms of Islamist student leaders at al-Najah National University. It is unclear whether the flagrant and justified detention of these innocent students was coordinated with the PA security. The two securities (Israeli and Palestinian) have a meticulous regime of coordination, mainly against Hamas.

In fact, despite the frequent ostensible tension between Israel and the PA leadership, it is quite safe to point out that security cooperation and coordination between the two sides have remained unscathed. Moreover, the US has always seen to it that this security coordination between the Israeli occupation army and the PA security agencies remain unaffected by recurrent political turmoil in occupied Palestine.

The arrest of Islamist student leaders, just 48 hours before student elections were due, is an unmistakable message to Hamas. The unspoken words of this message seem to be saying the following.

“We will not allow Hamas to win again in the west Bank even if we have to arrest every Islamist candidate. We made one mistake in 2006 and we will not make the blunder again.”

Of course, Fatah will keep babbling about elections, knowing quite well that any elections under the present circumstances would be a joke from the democratic view point.

But Fatah is absolutely insincere and dishonest about the whole reconciliation process. Fatah knows that draconian Israeli measures against Hamas will eventually militate in its favor. But then how could we be speaking about elections when we ought to be talking about a planned entrapment intended to make Hamas commit a political suicide.

Unfortunately, some Islamist activists and leaders in the West Bank are not fully aware of the gravity of the trap being laid out for Hamas.

Some of these leaders, including elected MPS, believe the movement will somehow overcome the evil designs rather miraculously. Others think, seemingly naively, that the masses will foil and thwart the conspiracy. But, frankly, all these reflexes belong to the realm of wishful thinking, not reality.

In fact, many of these brothers have spent the bulk of the period since 2006 in Israeli jails and detention camps. Hence, it is doubtful that they have an accurate appreciation of the situation on the ground. In light, we must make it abundantly clear to these brothers that 2013 is not 2006 and that the same tools used for mobilizing popular support seven years ago may not be adequate today.

There is no doubt that support for Hamas is still rife and strong amongst the people. However, the personal price for supporting Hamas or campaigning for it or even voting for it is much higher than it was in 2006.

Today, appearing in a video or TV program standing at or taking part in a Hamas rally may very well land you in an Israeli or PA jail. Yes, the intimidation and police state atmosphere may have been mitigated a little. But, still. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are wary of voting for Hamas for fear of retribution and other negative ramifications, such as losing their jobs or getting arrested or even tortured.

Hamas must not be fooled by the sweet talk about elections because the basic requirements for truly fair and democratic elections simply don’t exist.

PA Chairman Mahmould Abbas said recently that organizing elections was the key to achieving national reconciliation. But this is misleading for the simple reason that Abbas doesn’t call the shots in the West Bank as the Israeli occupation army continues to control every street and neighborhood in the occupied territory, including Abbas’s capital, Ramallah.

These matters must be communicated honestly and resolutely to the Egyptian broker sooner than later lest the Egyptian brothers fall into the trap of thinking that the PA is sovereign and can be counted on in organizing real elections. More importantly, Hamas must insist on receiving iron-clad guarantees from the Egyptian leadership to the effect that Israel will not arrest Hamas’ candidates either before or after the elections.

Needless to say, taking part in any elections in the absence of these guarantees would be a real folly bordering on political suicide.

I am certainly not against Palestinian reconciliation. But I am against dishonest politics involving our people since this kind of deception would eventually create more difficult problems and obliterate any semblance of trust that may still exist between Fatah and Hamas.

In light, instead of complete reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the two movements can opt for an amicable modus vivindi until the Israeli factor can be excluded or neutralized.

A final point. A victory for Fatah in the contemplated elections could effectively lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

The Fatah leadership, e.g. Mahmoud Abbas, are obsessed with the issue of statehood. They wouldn’t give a damn about the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland at the hands of Zionist invaders from Eastern Europe.

Abbas, who said he had no right to return to Safad, might very well argue that the refugees had no right to return to their homes and villages in what is now Israel !!!

And that would be the liquidation of our cause.

As to those opposing the clarion treason, they would be called extremists and terrorists and what have you.

Hence, it is paramount that Hamas refuses to be a false witness to the final sellout of Palestinian rights.

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