The Hamas movement will save the Palestinian people a lot of time and effort if it takes advantage from the formation of the new government to change its political language, particularly as it has accepted this government’s program that includes respect for the resolutions of international legitimacy, the agreements signed by the PLO, and also the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 territories.
What does this government program really mean? In a clear Arabic language, it means recognizing that there are two states, one of them Israel. It means negotiating the last solution with Israel. In plain Arabic, it means Hamas’s recognition of Israel as a state and the political process as a procedure.
There is an attempt to make the people believe that Hamas has not recognized Israel or the Oslo agreement as evidenced from statements by some of its leaders on a number of satellite news channels, which is inconsistent with the new government’s program that Hamas approved.
We realize that there is a problem between Hamas and its public and members. The movement’s bases have been politically educated for many years to refuse to recognize Israel and to consider the resistance, not negotiating, the only route to liberation. There is a broad religious utilization of these utterances and incitement against the PLO and the Fatah movement “which betrayed” the Palestinian cause by its signing of the Oslo agreements and the White House meetings between the leaders of Palestine and Israel.
The Hamas leadership has a chance to tell its bases the truth with courage. Since it has become convinced of the political program for negotiating and respecting the international agreements, then it must make this the political conduct of all its leaders and stop the distribution of roles between hard-line hawks talking to the street and the movement’s bases and doves talking in another language to the international community. If Hamas acts boldly and clearly, it will create a solid ground for ending the unfair blockade on the Palestinians, put Israel in an embarrassing position, drive the peace process forward, and find real backing from the entire international community.
Hamas has new obligations that it must not avoid. There is no exit other than to stop talking with two different languages and facing the new facts with courage. The Palestinians have come of age and learned from their bitter experience that political clarity and political initiative are the only way for retrieving the rights and embarrassing Israel and that playing with words or stands are one of the main reasons for the cause’s retreat and repeated defeats.