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Bin Laden and Hamas vs Obama and Netanyahu

IsraCast Snapshot: Upcoming Speeches Of U.S. President Barack Obama & Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu Likely To Reflect Impact Of Bin Laden's Assassination and Hamas 'Reconciliation' with Fatah

Likud Cabinet Minister Silvan Shalon: 'Do The Palestinians Think We're Morons?'

French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy: 'Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Pact Is Catastrophe For Palestinians, Israel & Arab Spring! Mahmoud Abbas Has Reverted To Doublespeak Of Yassir Arafat'

Benyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Speculation is mounting over just what U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau will tell the world when they make their much heralded speeches on the Middle East later this month. IsraCast analyst David Essing is of the view that two recent and dramatic developments will have a major impact on what they have to say - the U.S. targeted killing of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and the recent 'reconciliation ' between Palestinian West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas that rules Gaza.

After the recent targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden, the U.S. President's performance rating surged to 60% and this will undoubtedly be reflected in Barack Obama's address to the Middle East. After his election, Obama traveled to Egypt in June 2009, to make his Cairo address calling for reconciliation between America and the Arab world. But after the President failed to deliver Israel, the President later admitted that he had 'overestimated our ability' to advance the process. Since then the U.S. has backed off his 'Yes we can!' approach to the Middle East focusing on the wars in Afganistan and against Al Qaeda. Now that Obama called the shots on taking out Osama Bin Laden, he can be expected to take another crack at the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, possibly with a more realistic approach. In this light, Obama may to tell the Arab world that Al Qaeda poses as great a threat to their freedom as it does to the U.S. And that America will continue to stand behind the Arab freedom fighters in Tunis, Egypt, Libya and Syria as well as seeking a just solution for the Palestinians.

Mahmoud Abbas, Barack Obama (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First time around, Obama fell into the pitfall of demanding that Netanyahu agree to a permanent freeze on all settlement building, including Jerusalem, something Israel's PM could not do without losing his Right wing coalition. This time, the President is likely to stick to general principles such as a compromise that grants a state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, while providing security for Israel. The resignation of George Mitchell, his special emissary, indicates this is nearly mission impossible. And Obama may deign to point to the 'Arab Spring' as a gust of freedom blowing through the region that presents a new opportunity to advance the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Prime Minister Netanyahu sees it differently. In his view, Hamas is Israel's Al Qaeda and the Jewish state should not be expected to negotiate with the contrivance of Hamas-Abbas, any more than Obama would negotiate with Al Qaeda. West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas, who says he wants peace has teamed up with Khaled Meshaal of Hamas, who declares Israel must be wiped off the map but for the time being he is ready to put up with Assad's 'foolishness'. The annihilation of Israel is of course is the goal of Iran, patron of Hamas, and it speaks volumes that Iran has not canceled withdrawn its huge military and financial backing for Hamas in light of its 'agreement' to allow Abbas to advance the peace process with Israel.

Would the Ayatollahs in Tehran keep on shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas if they believed Hamas was now ready to halt terrorism and adopt the Abbas approach? In fact, Hamas officials in Gaza have declared that not a 'single word' will be altered in the Hamas charter that sees it as a religious duty to destroy Israel and murder Jews. Netanyahu will not accept a Palestinian ploy based on Abbas acting as front man to gain Israeli concessions, while Hamas remains in the wings planning future genocide for the Jewish state. As Cabinet Minister Silvan Shalom has put it: 'Do the Palestinians think we're morons!'

Yuval Diskin, the former Director of Shabak Security Service, has no doubt that Hamas will not alter its political or ideological positions and it 'definitely has no intention to accept any peace agreement with Israel'. In his view, Hamas could conceivably agree to a 'hudna' ceasefire that it would exploit to augment its military power. Although many Palestinians such as Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad do seek peace with Israel the problem was the Palestinian Authority represented only itself in Judea & Samaria and certainly not Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In his first public appearance since retiring, Diskin noted the deadly feud between Fatah and Hamas that has taken many Palestinian lives and he concluded: 'the prospect of maintaining a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is just about zero. It was possible to convene a signing ceremony but that did not reflect the reality on the ground. Blood does not turn to water and there is a lot of bad blood between those two organizations. Only time will tell if this reconciliation will endure'.

'What Imbeciles' was the title of an opinion piece written by the renowned French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy in Haaretz. Some of the jubilant reactions to the Palestinian 'reconciliation' reminded Levy of the critical reaction of the French Prime Minister back in 1938 to the cheering for the Munich Agreement. 'How is it possible to be such imbeciles? And how can so many commentators, how can people in parliamentary or other public committees, how can cabinet ministers and former cabinet ministers, how can a socialist party - in short, how can so many smart brains see this 'reconciliation' as good news, a positive sign, as a unification long overdue of the Palestinian people that has been split for so long. But this making up between Fatah and Hamas, is actually a catastrophe!'

It is a catastrophe for Israel, which has seen how an organization like Hamas has been brought to the forefront, an organization whose diplomatic expression, since its coup in 2007, has been the launching of rockets at Israeli civilians in Sderot, and which only a month ago fired an anti- tank missile into an Israeli school bus.

It is also a catastrophe for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who perhaps does not believe in the reconciliation but nonetheless he wiped out in the few minutes it took to sign the agreement, all the political and moral rights that he gained for himself versus Hamas, which has been classified as a ' terror organization' by international bodies headed by the EU and the U.S. And now Mahmoud Abbas has returned to the dark days of the terrible doublespeak of Yasir Arafat, who declared the Palestinian Charter had been banished from this world, but who instigated the most dastardly terrorism, from under the table.

It is a catastrophe for the 'Arab Spring' which is an ideological battlefield where two forces are confronting one another: on one hand, the democratic and liberal stream of human rights that identify with moderate Islam against the fossilized, antiquated radical Islam - yesterday's tyranny. The ruthless movement of the Muslim Brotherhood that arose in Egypt in 1928 and that took the path of the early Hitlerism, the very same path that is utilized by Hamas today. How is it possible not to see that under these conditions, this 'historic' pact between Hamas and Fatah is really a prehistoric step backwards?

How can it not be understood that this demonstration of pretentious brotherhood is an insult to all the innovative trends that have arisen in the Arab world against tyranny? An insult to the youth in Cairo's Freedom Square, who demonstrated for weeks without any semblance of anti-Western, anti-American or anti-Israeli sentiment. It was an insult to the rebels of Benghazi who are fighting for a Libya free of Gadaffi and against the anti-Holocaust deniers, killers of Jews, and terrorists wherever they are in the world. It was a spit in the face of hundreds of Syrians who have been butchered since March by the best friend of Hamas ( Bashar Assad).

I know full well there are those who tell us: "Just wait and you'll see, give it time, only the return of the fascists to the game, only if they are shown consideration and are pandered, will it be possible to eventually moderate them, to mend them.

Yes. Lets wait and see. However the sole thing we have seen so far, the only significant gesture by these candidates for rehabilitation, was the Hamas condemnation of Bin Laden's elimination. Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, called it a 'crime that was part of the campaign of bloody oppression that is being waged against former colonial peoples'. This says everything. There is something deplorable not only in what was said by Hamas, but also in the thundering silence with which it was met here (in Paris).

Excerpts from the article by Bernard-Henri Levy

Regardless of the approach to now be adopted by President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing pressure from some political friends and foes at home, who warn that he must launch a diplomatic initiative to offset the Palestinian drive for UN General Assembly recognition of a Palestinian state to be founded on the lines of 1967. But in Netanyahu's Right wing camp, there are politicians who contend there is no need for Israeli concessions because the General Assembly resolution is only 'declarative' and not binding as are Security Council votes. But the fact is that ever since the Six Day War of 1967, Israel has based its diplomatic approach on UNSC resolution 242 that calls for the 'withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict' - the clause deliberately did not stipulate 'the' territories. In addition, 242 also left the door open for changes in the 1967 lines by referring to 'secure and recognized boundaries'. Those '67 lines were so tenuous militarily that they tempted Egypt's President Nasser to mobilize the combined Arab armies to try and 'throw the Jews into the sea'. In Middle East diplomacy, 242 has always been the baseline for Israel to acquire more secure borders. If the General Assembly resolution is passed, it is not out of the question that its reference to the 1967 lines could supplant 242 as a new baseline in the international consciousness, even if the GA vote is only declarative.

David Essing

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