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Entrance to UNWRA's Aida Palestinian Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, with key representing the right of return that says "not for Sale"
photo by Rhonda Spivak

Mural of a former Palestinian village (as it was in 1948) in UNWRA's Aida Palestinian Refugee Camp
photo by Rhonda Spivak

Mural of a Shahid, terrorist who died for cause of liberating all of Palestine on street near UNWRA school in UNWRA's Deheishe Palstinian Refugee Camp photo by Rhonda Spivak
Mural of a Shahid, terrorist who died for cause of liberating all of Palestine on street near UNWRA school in UNWRA's Deheishe Palstinian Refugee Camp photo by Rhonda Spivak

New York Times Editorial Supports Netanyahu's position re: Palestinian Unity Government between Fatah and Hamas

by Rhonda Spivak, June 9, 2014


The United States has to be careful to distinguish between its support for the new [Palestinian] government and an endorsement of Hamas and its violent, hateful behavior,” the New York Times wrote in an editorial last week.


It is unusual and rare to see the New York Times supporting a position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but in fact the newspaper voiced caution, and exhibited empathy for Netanyahu and the Israeli government in their opposition to the Palestinian unity deal and their surprise at Washington’s announcement that it would work with the new Hamas-backed leadership.


“To have some hope of doing that, the United States and Europe must continue to insist that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas stick to his promises and not allow Hamas to get the upper hand,” the editorial went on. It echoed an earlier statement in which Secretary of State John Kerry defended the US position and said the Obama administration would monitor the new leadership and ensure it “doesn’t cross the line.”  


While Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah have insisted that the new government is made up of technocrats not affiliated with Hamas, the New York Times acknowledged that “Netanyahu has scoffed at that distinction — and some skepticism is warranted.”  (This Editor would suggest that an abundance of skepticism is warranted.)


“The United States and other countries that consider Hamas a terrorist group may find it impossible to continue aiding the Palestinians if Hamas plays a more pronounced role,” the New York Times editorial said.


Some US lawmakers and American Jewish groups have urged the same thing, calling for a careful evaluation of the current laws that prohibit funds being delivered to any Palestinian government that includes Hamas.


Who will Gain from the Reconciliation deal in the Long Run-Fatah or Hamas?


In my opinion, those who believe that this unity deal will empower Fatah are fooling themselves--The reverse will occur and Hamas will likely take over control of the West Bank, as opposed to Fatah taking control of Gaza.


As veteran Israeli correspondent Ehud Ya'ari has written in the Times of Israel, 

Hamas seems determined to exploit the reconciliation agreement as a means of resuscitating its political organization and clandestine terrorist activities in the West Bank. "The revival of open Hamas activities in the West Bank is affecting PA security organs, whose offices no longer intervene in Hamas gatherings."


According to Ya'ari, the resurgence of Hamas is "especially noted in the [Palestinian refugee camps outside the main cities]," in the West Bank. Hamas's popularity in the refugee camps is not surprising at all to me since I have visited  a couple of these camps run by UNWRA in the West Bank and seen first-hand and that-refugees and their descendants in the camps continue to  refuse to recognize Israel's existence, and demand a return to 1948 villages that no longer exist. 


Ya'ari concluded, "By this time next year Hamas could have a solid foothold in the West Bank and a veto power over PA and PLO decisions.


He cautioned that Western countries quick to endorse the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation should be aware of what is really happening here: Instead of the PA regaining its "southern provinces" in Gaza, it is in fact Hamas re-entering the "northern provinces" in the West Bank.


As prize winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has written recently, Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas has instructed the new unity government to prepare for long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. He wants to hold the elections within six months and he wants Hamas to participate in the vote, just as it did in January 2006. As Abu Toameh has written, "In 2006, Fatah lost the parliamentary election due to internal squabbling and tensions, as well as financial and administrative corruption. Eight years later, Fatah appears to be suffering from the same problems and is likely to be defeated once again at the ballot box.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.