by Ibrahim Barzak
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The rival Hamas and Fatah movements formed a
long-elusive unity government Thursday, hoping to end bloody infighting and
lead the Palestinians out of yearlong international isolation. Israel
immediately said, however, that it would not deal with the new government.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Islamic militant Hamas announced the
final coalition agreement and platform after months of stop-and-go
negotiations. It is to be approved by the Palestinian parliament on
The coalition platform posted on Hamas and Fatah Web sites calls for
continued observance of a truce with Israel but falls short of Israeli, U.S.
and European requirements that the new government recognize Israel, renounce
violence and accept previous peace deals.
The new government's platform includes only a vague pledge to "respect" past
peace deals, falling short of explicit recognition of Israel.
It also affirms the Palestinians' right to resist and "defend themselves
against any Israeli aggression."
While many in the West consider "resistance" to be a code word for violent
attacks, Palestinians have a wide variety of definitions that can encompass
anything from armed attacks to street protests.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said his government will
boycott the coalition government and encourage other countries to do the
same because its program falls short of the international conditions for
acceptance that include recognition of the Jewish state. . . .
Enver Masud, "Abu Mazen:
Israel's New 'Security Subcontractor'?," The Wisdom Fund, January
Scott Wilson and Glenn Kessler, "U.S. Funds Enter Fray In Palestinian
Elections," Washington Post, January 22, 2006
Jimmy Carter, "Don't Punish the
Palestinians," Washington Post, February 20, 2006
[The Bush administration is once again in the process of committing a major
policy blunder in the Middle East, one that is liable to have disastrous
consequences and is not receiving the attention it should. This time it
concerns the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. The Bush administration is
actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a
Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State
Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress
toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem
could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.--George Soros,
"On Israel, America and
AIPAC," New York Review of Books, April 12, 2007]