Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reported Fatah-Hamas Deal; Bibi Rejects it

As reported this morning by the NY Times, Fatah and Hamas have reached a deal in Cairo that would lead to a temporary unity government and the holding of elections.  What's up?  I'd note the following:
  • Bibi says no: “You can’t have peace with both Israel and Hamas,” Haaretz quoted him as saying. “Choose peace with Israel.”
  • Any movement toward a unity government is a big plus as the Palestinian leadership approaches the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting, where an overwhelmingly positive vote to recognize a Palestinian state according to the pre-1967 borders is expected.  It remains to be seen, though, if Hamas and Fatah can sustain this unity.  Such deals have been announced before, only to evaporate.  But . . .
  • One has to wonder if Hamas may be seeing the writing on the wall as the Asad regime in Syria faces its most severe threat ever.  Damascus has been Hamas's most stalwart Arab supporter; Hamas' leader, Khaled Meshal, lives there, sheltered by the Asad regime; and Syria is believed to be a funnel via which arms and other support reach Hamas (and Hezbollah) from Iran.
On the other hand, if the Asad regime were to succumb to the current uprising, and the nation-state of Syria survive the chaos that likely would ensue, it's entirely possible that a new government would include significant representation from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and similar Sunni Islamist groups, and would therefore be more than willing to maintain support for Hamas.

We're getting way ahead of ourselves here.  But the important repercussions in the short run, in re Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, center on the possibility that Netanyahu may need to take more seriously those who are calling for him to offer truly substantial "concessions."  Bibi sais "Choose peace with Israel."  Perhaps the more appropriate exhortation - to Bibi - is, "Choose peace for Israel."

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