Hamas has managed to infuriate the United States and Britain for mourning Bin Laden – while at the same time Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas ties the knot with the terrorist organization and tries to gain Western support for declaring a PA a state.
As Hamas and Fatah leaders arrived in Cairo Monday to sign a unity agreement, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said, responding to Bin Laden's elimination, "We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.
“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and martyrs. If these [sic] news are true, then this makes it part of the American policy based on oppression and bloodshed in the Muslim and Arab world,” the official Hamas website stated in Haniyeh's name.
The United States swiftly and angrily responded to what U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said were ”outrageous” remarks. Bin Laden “ordered the killings of thousands of innocent men, women and children... many of whom were Muslim. He did not die a martyr. He died hiding in a mansion, or a compound, far away from the violence that was carried out in his name,” Toner stated.
In Britain, Foreign Secretary William Hague used much softer language. He said that the new Fatah-Hamas unity would help promote peace with Israel “if it was possible to show across many different divides in the world a good deal of unity about what happened on Sunday night and the removal of the author of some of the world's greatest terrorist acts from the scene.
"It would have been better for Hamas to join the welcome to that. That would have been a boost in itself to the peace process."
The Quartet, which includes the United States and Britain, has specifically said in the past that Hamas cannot be recognized as legitimate if it does not recognize Israel and renounce violence, conditions which Haniyeh steadfastly rejects, all the while advancing the proposed unity accord with "peace-seeking" Fatah.
Toner left the door open for Hamas. “If Hamas wants to play a role in the political process, then it needs to abide by the Quartet principles …renouncing violence and terrorism, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements."
Neither the United States nor Britain has stated that the unity pact is not acceptable under present circumstances. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Britain Wednesday morning to make his case against the pact and against Abbas’ diplomatic campaign to convince the United Nations to declare the PA as a state based on the 1949 Armistice Lines.
Abbas still demands that Israel expel nearly 600,000 thousand Jews living in united Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, cede all of the land and building to the PA, and accept the immigration of several million foreign Arabs into Israel.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to conclude his European diplomatic campaign with a visit to France. Later this month, he will address the U.S. Congress, where he is expected to make an historic speech.. There is much speculation about how its content has been affected by Hamas-Fatah unity.