Hamas won a diplomatic victory by being recognized in negotiations after losing militarily, former GOP foreign policy advisor Elliott Abrams wrote in the Weekly Standard.
Even left-leaning media outlets have dismissed Hamas’ brash claims that it won on the battlefield and forced Israel to agree to a ceasefire, but Abrams concluded that Hamas did score gains on the political front.
“Hamas provoked the war and chose the timing, so it is not surprising that they thought they would gain—and they have gained,” according to Abrams.
He said that the ceasefire reversed a tide in favor of the rival Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who had gained points for planning to go to the United Nations for almost certain recognition as a Non-Member state with the status of Observer.
The Hamas offensive and resultant ceasefire improved the terrorist governments' image, despite the IDF’s success in exposing its use of civilian sites, such as a soccer field, to cover underground missile launching sites.
“President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah barely made the papers, despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit there,” Abrams wrote. “They were marginalized while Arab leaders and Turkish officials visited Gaza, and Hamas leaders traveled to Cairo for high-publicity meetings. The PLO leadership in Ramallah is one of the big losers of the last few weeks.”
Despite the supposed advancement of Fatah-Hamas unity talks, Abrams reasoned that Hamas’ control of Gaza will limit, rather than improve, any chance for Abbas to create any semblance of a “Palestinian Authority state.”
“It is ironic that Palestinians may achieve U.N. recognition of a unified and sovereign Palestinian state at almost exactly the moment when such a state seems further away than ever,” he wrote.
“The danger is that Hamas will increasingly be seen as a potential negotiating partner by governments around the world."
“If Hamas begins to be treated not as a terrorist group but as an entity equal in legitimacy to the PLO—and for that matter to Israel—it will be the first terrorist group to achieve such status without disarming and while maintaining its loathsome charter and revanchist goals,” he concluded.