“The motivation to form this government was to create a framework for the resumption of Western funding,” write Itamar Marcus and Barbarak Crook for Palestinian Media Watch. “But the new government does not meet the minimal conditions that the funding countries have demanded: Hamas' recognition of Israel and the cessation of terror.”
PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in holding the title of “President of the Palestinian Authority,” and Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, who took the position of prime minister following Hamas’s trouncing of Abbas’s Fatah Party in the PA elections, issued a joint statement Monday that an agreement had been reached between the two movements.
The agreement was announced as a “unity agreement” and was reported as such by Western news agencies. The PMW report points out that the driving motivation for the unity agreement is to renew international funding.
“Renewed funding is seen not as a secondary benefit of the unity government, but as the driving force behind the agreement,” Marcus and Crook write. “Fatah seems to be hoping that Hamas statements that they do not recognize Israel and reserve the right to use terror will be ignored by the West.”
Fatah is claiming that since past PA governments, including the new coalition, are “the result of the PLO,” they are therefore bound by agreements made by Arafat’s group in the past.
"Yesterday, President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reached an agreement to form a national unity government, which raises hope among the citizens for the ending of the international isolation and resumption of aid,” read Tuesday’s front page of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
The PMW report stated, “Haniyeh said that the guidelines of any future political program will not hurt the legitimacy of the resistance [the PA's term for terror] while the Hamas movement said that it would not recognize Israel and that it had the right to continue the armed struggle against the Jewish state. This issue raises doubts whether the national unity government will fulfill the demands of the West for lifting the ban on aid to Palestinians… Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhari, told the French news agency, ‘There will be no recognition of the state of Israel by the movement. We want a Palestinian unity government based on Palestinian criteria and not foreign criteria.’”
The Fatah-run Al-Quds newspaper the same day quoted Fatah Spokesman Mahir Miqdad, saying he “emphasized that the source of the authority for the Palestinian undertaking is the Palestine Liberation Organization ... and that the government or any Palestinian parliament are the result of the PLO and from the agreements that it [PLO] had made."
The Phased Plan
Interestingly enough, the PLO retains a policy that seeks the same end goal as Hamas, but through different means.
Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the PLO decided to adopt a three-stage strategy for Israel's destruction, commonly known as the "Phased Plan." The program was adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National Council, held in Cairo on June 9, 1974, and stated, inter alia:
* Through "armed struggle" [i.e., terrorism] an "independent combatant national authority" would be established over any territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule. (Article 2)
* To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations. (Article 4)
* To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab neighbors “liberate all Palestinian territory” – meaning the destruction of the State of Israel. (Article 8)
Even following the Oslo Accords, PLO Chairman Arafat insisted that the plan remained unrevised. Speaking on September 1, 1993, just after the announcement of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, Arafat announced on Radio Monte Carlo that the accords “will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestine National Council resolution issued in 1974... The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated.”
Other quotes from Arafat and PLO officials regarding the Phased Plan include:
"[The plan foresees] at first a small state, and with the help of Allah, it will be made large, and expand to the east, west, north and south. I am interested in the liberation of Palestine, step by step."
Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf), interviewed in Al Anba [Kuwait] Dec. 18, 1988
"Since the decision of the Palestinian National Council at its 12th meeting in 1974, the PLO has adopted the political solution of establishing a National Authority over any territory from which the occupation withdraws."
Yasser Arafat, quoted in Al Ayyam, January 1, 1998
"The Oslo accord was a prelude to the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian Authority will be a prelude to the Palestinian state which, in its turn, will be a prelude to the liberation of the entire Palestinian land."
Abdul Asis Shaheen, PNA Minister of Supply, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 4, 1998