Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which controls Gaza, have formally signed a unity agreement.
This means Fatah, which calls in its constitution for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensable element in the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19), will be united with Hamas, which calls is its charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7).
Just last week Hamas condemned the killing of the arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden. Both Hamas and Fatah have each murdered more than 500 Israelis since Yasir Arafat launched his terrorist wave against Israel in September 2000.
Now that these two movements have seen fit to form a new, unified Palestinian terrorist regime, it should be crystal clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can make no concessions whatsoever.
Because the fact is, with such an agreement the PA need make no concessions to Israel in return for any UN declaration of statehood. As Mideast expert Professor Barry Rubin has observed:
In other words, there will be a widely, or internationally, accepted Palestine without the need to make peace with Israel. No concessions need be made. The Palestinians will get everything and give up nothing. They will not be bound in any way by border changes or security guarantees. The struggle to wipe Israel off the map can continue. It’s Hamas’s dream come true.
We know from recent, bitter experience that the PA is unlikely to accept even the most generous Israeli peace proposals – even ones that would endanger Israel, such as Ehud Barak’s 2000 peace offer or Ehud Olmert’s 2008 offer, both of which offered more than 90 percent of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem to the PA.
But even if the PA were willing to accept a concessionary Israeli proposal, such a proposal should not be made, because Abbas’s PA has done nothing to suggest its war against Israel will not continue.
To the contrary, by naming schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killers; by not arresting terrorists or outlawing terrorist groups; and now by initialing an agreement with Hamas, the PA has shown conclusively that it is not only not a peace partner but is an avowed enemy of Jews and the Jewish state.
Why, then, is Israel being urged to make concessions? Such importuning is based on the fallacy that creating a Palestinian state will bring peace. This will remain a delusion until and unless the PA genuinely cleanses itself of terrorism and extremism, fights and jails terrorists, and terminates the culture of hatred and rejection that fuels Palestinian violent rejection of the Jewish state of Israel.
Does any reasonable person sincerely believe these things can even begin to occur when Fatah/PA allies itself with Hamas?
Any withdrawal of Israeli forces from Judea and Samaria would be a strategic and dangerous mistake, one that would imperil Israel’s major population centers. In this context, it is irrelevant that PA forces are being trained by the U.S.; the PA lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007 and may yet lose Judea and Samaria, despite any agreement signed between the two.
The prospect of U.S.-trained PA forces occupying strategic positions in Judea and Samaria should fill one with dread, not reassurance. We have seen in recent weeks Arab regimes murdering their own citizens by the hundreds and a journalist, Lara Logan, sexually assaulted in Egypt, with crowds egging on the attackers with cries of “Jew, Jew.” What might we expect from a Fatah/Hamas state?
In these circumstances, the Netanyahu government should not accede to whatever pressure might be placed on it to produce yet another gesture, yet another retreat, yet another wasteful, dangerous, one-sided concession.
Capitulation would send the world a message of Israeli weakness, a message that says this is really Arab land to which Jews have no claim. And we could end up with an Iranian-armed and supported Hamas-run state in these territories.
Instead of seeking to buy time or breathing space with new concessionary proposals, Israel must speak the truth loudly and clearly: Abbas’s PA is an unreconstructed terror-sponsoring regime that refuses to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and is undeserving of any international support, rewards or concessions until, at the very least, it fulfills its 17-year old commitments to end terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder. By initialing an agreement with Hamas, the PA has done the very opposite.