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Abbas Going for Broke, Gunning for Unity with Hamas

Mahmoud Abbas is to meet with Hamas leaders in Cairo Thursday to sum up a unity deal based on “resistance” and non-recognition of Israel.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/20/2011, 3:02 PM

Abbas, Haniyeh
Abbas, Haniyeh
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is to meet with Hamas leaders in Cairo Thursday to sum up a unity deal based on “resistance,” a Palestinian Authority state based on the temporary 1949 Armistice Lines and non-recognition of Israel.

Abbas, head of the rival Fatah faction, formally signed a formal unity agreement with Hamas in May, but it quickly became nothing more than a ceremonial act following disagreements.

The failure of the Palestinian Authority to gain admittance as a full member in the United Nations has been a game-changer. Following the American and Israel decision to cut off funds to the PA after it won membership on the U.N.’s UNESCO agency, Abbas has made it clear he considers the Obama administration an obstacle to his plans for Palestinian Authority statehood.

Spokesmen for Hamas and Abbas have confirmed this week’s meeting will be full of substance as Abbas had apparently decided to bank on Asian and pro-Arab countries in Europe to give him the diplomatic backing he has lost with the United States.

Hamas opposed Abbas' bid for U.N. membership, and the failure has represented the terrorist organization with a golden opportunity to exercise weight. The failure of a unified Palestinian Authority has hampered Abbas’ influence in the West, with Hamas ruling Gaza and the Fatah faction ruling Arab areas of Judea and Samaria.

Hamas spokesmen said the unity agreement will be based on a policy of ”resistance,” an Arab code word for terror; a Palestinian Authority country being defined by the temporary 1949 Armistice Lines that were in effect until the Six-Day War in 1967; and non-recognition of Israel.

Abbas previously has said he recognizes Israel as an entity, but not a Jewish state. Presumably, Abbas will claim he recognizes Israel only according the temporary borders. Their inclusion in the Palestinian Authority would mean the expulsion of nearly 10 percent of Israel's population and the forfeiting of lands and property in PA-claimed areas.

One of the bones of contention between Fatah and Hamas has been the choice of prime minister, a post held by Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Under the new agreement, neither of them would serve in office.

The planned meeting this week between Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, the supreme leader of Hamas, is bound to upset the Obama administration even more than the bid for membership in the United Nations, a move that effectively buried the American-led ”diplomatic process.”   

A further provocation could be the participation of the Islamic Jihad in new PA elections in May, a move the terrorist organization said it is considering.

Abbas still is trying to stay on good terms with the Obama administration, commenting that the United States “is considered our friend” because it “helps us financially and it provides us with a considerable amount of aid.” The cut-off to aid following the PA’s acceptance to UNESCO proved temporary but still remains a threat.