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EYELESS IN GAZA

Dr. Dan Schueftan: 'President Mahmoud Abbas Has No Chance Of Pursuing Peace From West Bank Because Palestinians There Also Support Terrorism Against Israel'

'Hamastan In Gaza & Fatahland On West Bank Is Not A Solution'

'U.S. Pressure On Israel For Concessions To Palestinians Backfires'

The dust has not yet settled after the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, the radical Islam movement. From his headquarters in Ramallah on the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a new prime minister Salam Fayyad to replace Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Haniyeh refuses to step down contending that his Hamas members control two- thirds of the Palestinian parliament. Now in the U.S., Prime Minister Ehud Olmert talks of a new opportunity arising from the split between Hamas and Fatah. A leading Israeli analyst Dr. Dan Schueftan previously told IsraCast that although today's events should have been visible from the outset it is most important to see their ramifications on future developments.

There has never been a coherent Palestinian society committed to democratic values- that's the conclusion of Dr. Dan Schueftan. The Gaza takeover by Hamas, a radical Islamic movement, is in line with the Palestinians' support of irresponsible Palestinian leaders over for decades starting with the Mufti of Jerusalem and Yasser Arafat. The Palestinian leadership has wasted enormous foreign aid and good will choosing to conduct irresponsible policies that have the full support of the Palestinian people.

But what of President Mahmoud Abbas who is ready to negotiate the Road Map peace plan that calls for a two state solution. Schueftan replies that Abbas is impotent without any real power. Moreover, even Abbas does not really back the two - state solution because he insists on the so- called Palestinian 'right of return' that would spell the end of the Jewish state.As for Arafat and Hamas they had the same thing in common- the lack of a constructive attitude and ' preferring to kill Jewish children rather than building a future for their own'.

What has been the impact of the U.S. pressure on Israel to permit Hamas to run in the Palestinian election of January 2006 which enabled Hamas to be elected to office?

Schueftan says it obviously has lead to the barbaric events in Gaza that are being witnessed today. The very essence of Hamas has nothing to do with democratic values. What must be understood is that the prevailing conditions in the Middle East do not provide the slightest chance for the election of democratic regimes in the Arab world. If free and open elections were held in Egypt today, Egyptians would elect radical Islam ousting the unpleasant but responsible regime of Hosni Mubarak. Such countries ruled by radical Islam would spread war and destruction in the region. A similar situation prevails in other Arab countries. Another case in point is Iraq where Sunni and Shiite Muslims are butchering one an other. Iran is an exception of a Middle East where the people actually favor a democratic and pluralistic society.

Dr. Dan Schueftan

Dr. Dan Schueftan is a senior Israeli academic and deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, where he also serves as a senior lecturer in the School of Political Sciences. Schueftan has served as an advisor to Israel's National Security Council, and to former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.

But what about the critics who charge that Israel did not do enough to bolster Mahmoud Abbas by releasing terrorists and lifting road blocks on the West Bank?

Schueftan says such allegations are based or either ignorance or something else- in his view the idea that releasing thousands of terrorists will stabilize an already violent society is idiotic'. Past experience has proved that lifting roadblocks on the West Bank means more terror attacks and bus bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It is also vital to prevent the terrorism from Gaza from spreading to the West Bank. Moreover,as long as the Palestinian people are committed to terrorism it makes it impossible for any responsible Palestinian government to root out terrorists and it's not only Hamas and Fatah but the many gangs and warlords that rule the Palestinian Street.

David Essing

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