It’s time to unmask the Palestinian Authority’s pretense to peace, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday while meeting with diplomatic staff at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.
“[PA Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas’s actions brought Hamas to power in Gaza and now they will be brought to power in Judea and Samaria,” Mr. Liberman said.
He added that it does not really matter when elections in the Palestinian Authority are held. “Hamas is going to win and take over the Palestinian Authority,” he stated.
“There are those, particularly in Europe, who do not wish to acknowledge that the Palestinians are not interested in peace,” Mr. Liberman said bluntly.
“It’s time to take the mask off Chairman Abbas’s face and say loud and clear that he is a peace refusenik.”
The last democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority were held in January 2006 in response to pressure from the United States, and resulted in a landslide victory by the Hamas terrorist organization. Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Abbas retained his title as PA chairman at the time through swift political maneuvering; however, Hamas representatives swallowed the vast majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
A massive power struggle began within weeks, and a full-scale militia war between Fatah and Hamas was in progress by February in the streets of Gaza. By June 2006, Hamas seized full control of Gaza and expelled Fatah officials from the region altogether. The terror group severed Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian Authority and effectively created its own nation-state. That same month Hamas joined the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization in launching a two-front war against Israel (the “Second Lebanon War”) and kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel.
It took five years and the release of more than 1,000 PA Arab terrorist prisoners from Israeli jails to return Shalit to his family, miraculously alive.
Although numerous attempts by international Arab leaders since that time to create “unity governments” between Fatah and Hamas have failed, last month the two factions signed another agreement. In the intervening years, Hamas has managed to infiltrate the Ramallah-based PA. Operatives have planted numerous Hamas and the affiliated Islamic Jihad terror cells in villages throughout PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. Both groups are backed by Iran.
Analysts believe that Mr. Liberman is indeed correct; with or without a unity government, eventually Hamas will take over the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria if Israel does not take action to intervene.
And then Israel will not only have Iran in its front yard on the northern border and in its backyard to the south, but also finally in the side yard as well, if not actually within the walls of the house.