At the end of April 2011, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas reached a formal reconciliation and unification agreement. At that time, Hamas leader Mahmoud Azhar carefully noted the still-unchanged Hamas platform – “no recognition of Israel, and no negotiation.” To be sure, this refractory position will become the de jure and/or de facto position of Fatah as well.
In the very best case scenario for Israel, Fatah would allege publicly that it is not bound by Hamas’ rejectionism, but would still proceed unilaterally toward UN membership, and associated Palestinian statehood. In this connection, the official statement issued by a spokesman for Palestinian President Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudena, that the codified rapprochement between Palestinian factions represents only “internal Palestinian issues,” was disingenuous on its face. Also significant is that the inter-faction agreement was signed in Cairo, where forces of the Muslim Brotherhood, the “parent” and active mentor of Hamas, are quickly preparing to fill the post-Mubarak power vacuum in Egypt.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had sought to blunt the consequence of any eventual Palestinian statehood by making such sovereignty contingent upon Palestinian “demilitarization.” Not unexpectedly, that strategy has already failed. Implementing a convenient and clever “end run” around bilateral diplomacy with their deferential nod for statehood to the United Nations, both Palestinian factions know full well that Netanyahu’s demilitarization contingency is entirely toothless.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. From Israel’s survival standpoint, there is no meaningful difference between Fatah and Hamas. Both the Fatah Charter and the Hamas Covenant call for Israel’s liquidation.
In spite of this, the United States continues to award tens of millions of dollars annually to Fatah, and – in an effort to use Fatah “security forces” as subcontractors against Hamas – even trains these future anti-American terrorists in Jordan. When the Palestinians get their state, from which they will only accelerate their deadly rocket attacks upon Israeli cities and neighborhoods, Mr. Netanyahu will meekly seek protection for his more imperiled people under a newly deployed “Iron Dome.”
High-technology weaponry has its place. But hiding behind active defenses can never save Israel. From Sun-Tzu to Clausewitz, military thinkers have clearly understood that, over time, even partial substitutions of defense for offense are destined to fail. Historically, Israeli territorial surrenders, beginning with the utterly one-sided transfer of Sinai to Egypt, have only weakened Israel, in large part, in the words of the HamasCovenant, by persistently hardening resolve “to raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they may rid the land and the people of their [Jewish] uncleanness, vileness and evils.”
New waves of Palestinian terrorism are surfacing. Just before the new Fatah-Hamas pact, the March murder of an entire Jewish family by Palestinian terrorists was already an early-warning reminder of who are really Israel’s “peace partners.” To suggest, as some pro-peace process figures in Israel and the United States have done, that the particular murderers in this case were culturally and/or psychologically aberrant, and thereby adequately outside of the authoritative Palestinian mainstream, would be mistaken. As in the several cases of previous Palestinian murders of whole Israeli families, these latest Arab killers, who lacked even the faith-based ideology of becoming willing “suicides,” were promptly and widely praised by their respective communities.
What about Israeli settlement? Don’t these construction efforts kindle Palestinian hatreds and spark anti-Israel terror? Let us state the obvious. Sanctimonious objections to settlements are always a smokescreen. For the Palestinians, whether Hamas or Fatah or any other conceivable faction (it makes little difference), openly grotesque violence against Jewish civilians remains a sacred goal.
From its endangered beginnings, from the plainly asymmetrical inception of the Oslo Agreements, the Middle East Peace Process has never offered Israel a ghost of a chance. Animated by a relentlessly lascivious and generalized Arab will to exploit diplomacy in order to produce Israel’s elimination by increments, it remains, ironically, an easily recognized Trojan Horse. Indeed, from the standpoint of current U.S. and other allied foreign policies, the Peace Process is now officially characterized as a distinctly benign sort of cartography.
But the Road Map is considerably more than an inconvenient detour.
Oslo I, known generally as the Declaration of Principles, was concluded and signed in Oslo, on August 19, 1993, and resigned in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993. Oslo II was signed in Washington D.C. on September 28, 1995. As expressed in a still-steadily enlarging Palestinian terrorist movement against Israel, and in the total numbers of Israelis killed and maimed by suicide bombers and other terrorists since August 19, 1993, the Middle East Peace Process has been a resounding failure.
From Rabin onwards, all of Israel’s prime ministers seemingly felt more-or-less obligated to honor the Oslo Accords. From the standpoint of an informed jurisprudence, this naive obligation was never supported by authoritative norms or expectations, but only by the gratuitously popular notion that such signed documents were necessarily valid, and binding ipso facto.
In true fact, the law of nations actually required abrogation, not compliance, with what were invalid and illegal agreements. Moreover, as Israel’s position on Oslo has profoundly impacted its overall nuclear security posture, we must now also understand the critical interrelatedness of law and power.
Louis Rene Beres was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), and is the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and international law. In the United States, he has worked for over forty years on international law and nuclear strategy matters, both as a scholar, and as a lecturer/consultant to various agencies of the United States Government. In Israel, he has lectured widely at various academic centers for strategic studies, at the Dayan Forum, and at the National Defense College (IDF). Professor Beres was Chair of Project Daniel. Born in Zürich, Switzerland, he is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.