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Abbas Finds Peace Partner in J Street

The pro-Hamas and “pro Israel” J Street visited Abbas this week and they found lots of common ground, including more US aid for Fatah-Hamas.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/9/2011, 3:32 PM / Last Update: 5/9/2011, 5:44 PM

Israel news photo courtesy Princeton U.

Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas welcomed leaders from the pro-Hamas and self-styled pro-Israel J Street lobby in Ramallah Sunday. Abbas' guests were receptive to a plea that the Obama administration continues to give money to the new Hamas-Fatah PA government.

Since last month's signing of the unity agreement with its rival Fatah faction, headed by Abbas, Hamas has said it will never recognize Israel and that “resistance” (i.e., terrorism) is legitimate to reach its aims.

Abbas assured J Street,” I hear rumors that Hamas will be in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], or that it will share authority here. This will not happen. The new government will comply with my policies, and I am against terror and violence,” The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner reported.

Even J Street said that violence is not only possible but also is probable if Israel does not agree to Abbas' conditions for talks with the pre-arranged outcome of a Palestinian Authority country within Israel’s borders. Contrary to Abbas' anti-violence statements to English media, he has promoted recently-unveiled monuments and ceremonies honoring suicide terrorists.

Abbas has warned that if Israel does not agree to his demands, he will secure them through recognition from the pro-Arab United Nations General Assembly next September.  

"Frustration will be higher," J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said, if Abbas turns to the UN. “All you need is one match on the tinder and we're very worried about what that leads to."

 “We need your help,” Abbas told his guests, and Ben-Ami warmly responded, saying he would “bring back to Washington the message that this may be the last opportunity with a Palestinian leader willing to say yes to peace with Israel.”

J Street favors shrinking Israel’s borders to the temporary Armistice Lines that existed in 1949, along with land swaps with the Palestinian Authority, eve though Abbas has said he will offer no compromise.

However, Abbas told the J Street delegation that he still favors “negotiations.” which has become a code word for Israel’s agreeing to Palestinian Authority demands that he otherwise threatens to win through the United Nations.

Before meeting Abbas, J Street leaders sat down with President Shimon Peres, Opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Likud minister, Dan Meridor, considered one of the most left-wing Likud Cabinet officers.

A J Street spokeswoman told Israel NationalNews it had requested a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu but was turned down. A government official confirmed that a request had been made but that a meeting “was not possible.”

Abbas promised that any government under his control would satisfy demands by the Quartet – the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia – to renounce terror, abide by prior agreements and recognize Israel's existence.

Abbas has sporadically said he will not seek another term, which already has overrun its legal time frame, but he did not note a future PA’s government’s obligations under someone else’s rule.