Hamas has demonstrated rare courage in carrying out and adopting the killing of four Israelis on the same hour in which the Palestinian President and his negotiating team were traveling to Washington. As is its habit it makes the Palestinian individual pay the price while the Israelis are the ones who benefit from its operations.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said in a recent editorial that “the Hebron operation does not change much of the essence of the summit, but it helps Netanyahu’s security demands and naturally enhances his ability to bargain on the issue of the settlements freeze. He can explain to the Americans that when it is the settlers who are the victims of the terrorism, then the Israeli public will not accept continuation of the construction freeze. In other words, the (Hamas) operation places a tactical and media weapon in the hand of the Prime Minister. It is not the Palestinians alone who go to Washington as parties that have been wronged but the Israelis as well”. So the truth is that Hamas has always been a partner to Israeli desires and a good servant to the Iranian demands but has not done anything whatsoever for the Palestinian individual.
Hamas spoiled the famous 1999 and 2000 negotiations then returned later to say that it was ready to accept the political settlement offered to President Arafat. But it was too late because Bill Clinton had already left the White House.
In the name of responding to Hamas, the Israelis destroyed all that President Arafat built after his historic return from Tunisia. They destroyed the Gaza Airport, the harbor, and the governmental centers on the West Bank, and they killed many members of his security forces. Each time Hamas wished to sabotage the negotiating process, it would send some suicidal teenager to blow up a civilian bus and provide the Israeli extremists with more pretexts for more killing and plunder, blows against the PA and sabotage of its institutions. Hamas did nothing to harm the Israelis. It did not hit the centers of their military or economic strength. The greatest successes of Hamas were when it succeeded in drawing the Israelis to enter the PA territories and lay siege to President Yasser Arafat in his office until he died of frustration. Hamas and Islamic Jihad were behind the building of the Wall which represents the most dangerous process for changing the facts on the ground. Israel benefited from the operations directed against it to build that wall which stole a third of the Palestinian lands and severed family bonds, wasted many farms and laid siege to thousands of Palestinian families who were left to live in unparalleled misery.
Most unfortunately, the facts say that Hamas is Israel’s partner, not the opposite. This is what it did yesterday when it killed four Israelis on the eve of the Palestinian team’s departure for the negotiations. It wants to sabotage the scheme of the American President who asked to be given an opportunity of just one year and pledged to establish the Palestinian State.
Hamas is not against the negotiations because Hamas itself sought negotiations with the Israelis at the outset of this year and extended to them concessions that were exactly the same as those pledged by the PA in Ramallah. But the Americans refused to have Hamas participate and this made it turn to sabotaging the fresh negotiations, not out of hatred for Israel but only because it is against PA participation. This is also because with its operations, Hamas satisfies its ally Iran that threatens to sabotage the negotiations. Iran itself is not against the negotiations but wants the Palestinians to pay, as usual, the price of their reconciliation with the Americans so that it could acquire regional influence and be permitted to have nuclear weapons when it allows the Palestinians to negotiate.
The decision today is for the Palestinians on whether they wish to negotiate or not. They are also the ones who have to decide later whether the proposed reconciliation is suitable or not. The first and final word is for the Palestinians, not for the Arabs or the Iranians.