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Khaled Abu Toameh

The New Palestinian State Will Be Run by Islamic Fundamentalists

by Khaled Abu Toameh, May 20, 2011 originally published at

Many Palestinians see the reconciliation accord sponsored by Egypt, as a victory for Hamas and its strategy.

Hamas leaders have even been boasting of the fact that the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah does not require them to recognize Israel's right to exist or even abandon the "armed struggle."

Hamas is being invited to join a new Palestinian government without having to make any concessions. Hamas is not even being asked to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip, over which it seized control in a violent coup in the summer of 2007.

The accord also calls for holding new presidential and parliamentary elections within one year after the establishment of a unity government.

There is good reason to believe that Hamas and its allies will again score a major victory in a new election.

As the Palestinian Authority is insisting on asking the UN as early as September to recognize a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines, and then to hold elections.

In September 2011, the UN could vote in favor of a Palestinian state that would later be controlled by fundamentalist Muslims.

This means that the Palestinian Authority first wants to get a state and then ask the Palestinians to go to the ballot boxes.

If Hamas wins that election, the Palestinians will end up with an internationally recognized state that is run by an Islamist extremist group.

There is no guarantee that Hamas will not once again win the elections. In 2006, Hamas's Change and Reform list won the parliamentary election, triggering a power struggle with Fatah, which still has not come to terms with its humiliating defeat.

Moreover, the accord allows Hamas to maintain its tight grip on the Gaza Strip. Hamas's security forces and armed militias will continue to control the entire Gaza Strip even after the formation of the unity government with Fatah.

The reconciliation agreement allows Hamas to become a full and equal partner in running the affairs of the Palestinians without having to accept conditions set by the international community for recognizing the Islamist movement's authority, the first and foremost of which are renouncing violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist.

In recent weeks, Palestinian Authority leaders and spokesmen have been telling their people that Israel "is not interested in peace" and does not want to give the Palestinians anything. Such statements play into the hands of Hamas and drive more Palestinians into the open arms of the Islamist movement.

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