Morton A. Klein, ZOA PresidentMorton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America.
Last week, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) formed a unity government with the Nazi-like Hamas terror organization.
Hamas, a U.S.- and EU-recognized terrorist group, calls in its Charter for the global murder of Jews (Article 7) and the destruction of Israel (Article 15), while its leaders have called for demise of the U.S. and the murder of Americans.
Despite this, within two days, the Obama Administration said that it would continue to financially aid the PA. The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have followed suit. And this despite the fact that Hamas has foreshadowed expanding its operations from Gaza into the 'West Bank', while its terror force, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, remains an independent actor.
Consider: the Oslo agreements require the outlawing and dismantling of terrorist groups, the arrest and extradition of terrorists and the banning of such groups from elections. Yet, when the PA partners with Hamas, genocidally-inclined terrorists with a record of scores suicide bombings, over 10,000 rocket assaults from Gaza and the murder of over a thousand Israelis to its account, neither condemnation nor penalty follows from the U.S., the EU, the UN.
Conversely, when Israel merely announces a housing project in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, not in contravention of any signed agreement and, moreover, within an area bound to be retained by Israel in any conceivable peace, world-wide condemnation follows –– as when after one such announcement in March 2010, Vice-President Joseph Biden “condemned” it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton termed it an “insult” and senior aide David Axelrod called it a “destructive ... affront” which “undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region.”
In short, Jewish houses in Jerusalem, no. PA/Hamas partnership, yes. No condemnation, no insult, no offense taken at the undermining of fragile peace efforts - and no penalties imposed.
Putting aside completely this disregard of a close ally’s vital interests. From a purely American point of view, President Obama should have been outraged. Here is Hamas, whose leaders have declared that the “USA will be conquered,” condemned as an “atrocity” and “oppression” the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and publicly intoned “Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies… Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and don’t leave even one.”
This indifference of the accession of Hamas to the PA is consistent with Obama’s policy toward Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Libya, in which, through engagement and acquiescence, we have seen the strengthening of viciously anti-American forces.
It will be said that the new terrorist Fatah/Hamas PA regime is merely a caretaker government of apolitical technocrats prior to holding new Palestinian elections. Yet, terrorist movements are proscribed by the terms of the Oslo agreements. Moreover, the PA has never abided by its signed Oslo agreements and, for twenty years, no-one, least of all President Obama, has held them to account.
Even without the Fatah/Hamas deal, talks with the Fatah/PA were devoid of purpose.
Only last month, Abbas told Obama, that he will neither accept Israel as a Jewish state, nor conclude a comprehensive peace that encompasses an end of claims. This assertion prompted no criticism or condemnation –– much less action –– in Washington.
By cementing its April reconciliation agreement and forming a unity government with Hamas, Abbas’ Fatah/PA has shown conclusively that it is not only not a peace partner, but an avowed enemy of Jews and the Jewish state.
Abbas has not fulfilled its commitments under the Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that helps fuel the conflict. He has said openly that there are no real “political differences” between Fatah and Hamas. Top PA official Saeb Erekat has declared that Hamas “is not and never was a terror group.” Even without the Fatah/Hamas deal, talks with the Fatah/PA were devoid of purpose.
It proved to be a tragic farce for Israel to negotiate with terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. Ditto when Israel negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas, who turned down in 2008 an offer of Palestinian statehood throughout virtually the entire territory he was publicly demanding, including all of the 'West Ban'k, half of Jerusalem and the uprooting of 150,000 Jews. Can it be any more likely now?
Peace remains remote until and unless the PA genuinely reforms and cleanses itself of terrorism and extremism, fights and jails terrorists and terminates the culture of hatred and rejection that helps fuel the conflict.
The Obama Administration should have immediately terminated relations with the PA or, better, told Abbas it would do so at the first hint of the formation of such a regime. Instead, American taxpayers will be funding a regime that includes those who seek the murder of Americans and Jews everywhere.
Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA's Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel (London, 2004).