Hussein Ibish, of the American Task Force on Palestine, rebuts calls for incorporating Hamas directly into the peace process:
With the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, numerous voices in the United States have been urging the inclusion of Hamas in international diplomacy….
… One is to allege … that without Hamas there is no chance of any Palestinian leadership being able to deliver on a peace agreement. This ignores the extent to which Hamas’ appeal relies on cynicism and despair about peace, and the likely surge of legitimation for any leadership that can secure independence for the Palestinians.
Another assumes that Hamas is somehow more “authentic” than the Palestine Liberation Organization because it is a violent revolutionary group. Some have transferred sympathy for left-wing revolutionaries of the past to this ultra right-wing fundamentalist organization precisely because it is violent and revolutionary. …
… George Washington University professor Nathan Brown has recently argued that because there have been no Palestinian elections in years so that terms in office have expired, there are two equally illegitimate and authoritarian Palestinian Authorities, one in Ramallah and the other in Gaza.
Arguments assuming that elections alone are what matter … ignore why there can be no elections (Hamas is blocking them because it rightly fears the results)….
Harvard professor Stephen Walt recently suggested that if peace negotiations fail, “Hamas will be in a strong position” to lead “a Palestinian campaign for political rights within [a] single state, based on well-established norms of justice and democracy.” Walt doesn’t seem to understand what Hamas is, what it believes in, what it opposes, or the implications of its regional affiliations. The idea that Hamas might become a civil-rights movement for international standards of justice and democracy is simply laughable.
… Hamas showed its true colors once again by attempting to sabotage the current peace negotiations – which the organization fears might succeed in ending the conflict before it can unseat the PLO. This Hamas did by murdering four Israeli settlers in a drive-by shooting; it claimed “full responsibility” for the killings, called them “heroic,” vowed to repeat the crime (and tried to the very next day) ….
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Mr. Ibish is one of the American Task Force on Palestine (ie., servile American-sponsored) Palestinians. As such he is completely dedicated to pursuing the American/Israeli goal of “dividing and conquering” the Palestinians. It is not surprising that Mr. Ibish’s latest rants focus exclusively on denying Hamas any degree of legitimacy (despite the 2006 elections), and that includes a place at the negotiating table.
Dr. Ibish doesn’t seem “servile” to me. The very narrow Hamas electoral victory in Jan. 2006 (44% to 42%) is hardly a mandate for now, nearly five years later.
But if Hamas were to agree to the international standards advanced by the Quartet (the UN, EU, US and Russia) of accepting past agreements, renouncing violence and agreeing to a negotiated two-state solution with Israel, it would immediately become a player. Still, even Hamas does not deny the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority negotiating a peace treaty with Israel and then subjecting it to a plebiscite.
Yet, as we are reminded by its murderous attack on civilians on the eve of the talks, we know that Hamas does not seriously believe in peace. Apparently this gentleman, David, does not either.