Wasn’t it odd to hear the Hamas government recently criticizing Palestinian factions for launching rockets into Israel, an act that violated a ceasefire that began at 6am (0400 GMT) 26 November, 2006? Hamas’ criticism was strange indeed especially after it had formerly described any truce with the enemy as treason, considering any rocket attack against Israel a sacred act that should not be condemned while still refusing to negotiate with Israel.
The official Hamas spokesman stated that it had agreed with Israel to halt its rocket attacks in exchange for Israel ending its aggression.
Isn’t this unadulterated political hypocrisy? This time however, the price was very high; 400 Palestinians have died due to the policy of Hamas, which has also destroyed the government structure, caused its people to starve and opened the door to Israeli aggression and assassinations. The result today is a truce to protect Israel from rockets and suicide operations.
Our surprise is not related to gloating as we witness a shift in the ideas of Hamas. In fact, it is a stage that requires one to stop, think and analyze, or at least adopt a sarcastic approach. Hamas promoted the idea that the late President Yasser Arafat’s dealing and reconciliation with Israel was sinful. Hamas distrusted anybody who followed this track and gave itself the religious, national and moral right to reject any ceasefire with the enemy as a matter of principle and practice.
This change in Hamas’ stance seems to be a temporary and tactical move with the aim of releasing Palestinian prisoners, as four months have elapsed since the capture of the Israeli soldier that subjected Palestine to unjustified destruction. If these concessions, such as that of protecting Israel from rocket attacks, are among Hamas’ rights, why did it reject its predecessors who did the same thing? Hamas continuously criticized the Fatah movement when it was in power for signing treaties with Israel and deliberately broke the ceasefires by sending bombers to execute various operations. The justification was that a truce with the enemy is illegitimate, unacceptable and an act of betrayal. Thus, the Palestinian project had fallen hostage to the policies of mistrust, accusations of treachery, intimidation, and direct corruption.
I do not believe that anyone on the Palestinian side would oppose Hamas’ truce with Israel, as everybody has seen the results of Hamas’ failed policy which since coming into power has offered more protection to Israel and seen less Palestinian military operations than those carried out when Fatah was in power. Its failing policy has starved the Palestinians, disrupted political and developmental projects and has caused Palestine to lose all of its European allies that once stood by it.
If Hamas is going to take pride in the fact that it had liberated a number of Palestinian prisoners through negotiation in exchange for the Israeli soldier, it would be an unconvincing argument because Israel was prepared to sign an agreement on the release of Palestinian prisoners without the need to kidnap any soldiers. The price that we see today is in fact linked to negotiations, concessions, and the new political stance adopted by Hamas.