Giving a Chance to “Hamas”

Since the victory of “Hamas,” the Israelis and the Americans overindulged in roused babble.  They repeated and reiterated everything they previously said about “terrorism” and “destroying Israel”; and even overstressed it. They didn’t heed, even for a minute, that what they kept repeating was and is directly offensive to “Fateh” movement, which is supposed to be their privileged option. Every accusation they direct to “Hamas” suggests an inevitable comparison, and thus the desired outcome may turn out to be different from what they expected. In other words, they reinforced the conviction of the voters that their choice was the correct one, since those who are praised or not criticized by the Israelis cannot but become suspects among their people and in the core of their audience.

The striking aspect about the Israeli reactions is that they promptly trapped themselves in a bundle of terms and formulas originally conceived for a targeted media war, used by the soldiers to justify to themselves and to others that the only available rhetoric to be used with the Palestinians is violence; and nothing but violence. Moreover, they expect the Palestinian party to renounce violence in words and deeds, while only the Israelis can maintain their “right” to use violence, without any serious steps towards peace. The fact is that the Israeli military never heeded, even for a second, to contemplate a way to deal with the changes brought about by the victory of “Hamas.” They ignored and loathed it and drew their schemes on the basis that the rule of this Islamic movement cannot last more than a period, set as “six months” at the utmost. The military and non-military merely voiced statements and opinions focusing on pretexts and justifications that validate, as of now, the issuance of decisions to assassinate Ismail Hanieh or another symbol of “Hamas,” subsequently one of the symbols of the “new” authority.

Even when the Palestinian President clearly conveyed, during the opening session of the Legislative Council, what he believes – rather what differentiates him from “Hamas” – “Abou Mazen” was met by an utter Israeli negativity. One of the Israeli officials, as an anonymous “source,” was not reluctant to consider him “hostile” merely for announcing his compliance with his people’s choices in the elections. The Israelis, and the Americans of course, did not heed that scorning, marginalizing, and going beyond the Palestinian Authority, as if inexistent, were practically among the reasons that led the voters to cast a vote responding to this conduct. Above all, the PA lost much of its standing as a result of the Israeli and US practices. There was no “acknowledgment” problem between Israel and the PA, since the latter asserted its existence when it  acknowledged the Hebrew state. However, Israel’s “acknowledgement” of the Palestinian people, its authority, and rights remained an contentious issue. It was probably only unilateral, but it was and still is the first acknowledgment of its kind made by the occupied people to the occupation force. Despite that, the occupation force still needs this “acknowledgment” since it went as far as using it to blackmail those whose territories and lives it is occupying.

Some believe that the current Israeli stance is linked to the electoral campaign and the contest for radicalism between “Kadima” of Olmert and “Likud” of Netanyahu. But those who drafted this stance are the military who refused every political reading of “Hamas” victory in the elections and only saw therein another chance to keep on using excessive power. The proof is that they are proceeding with the assassinations, looking for any pretext to resume invasions. As such, the schemes put forth and implemented by the military will prevail in the Israeli performance, just as it was the case before the rise of “Hamas” and during Yasser Arafat’s tenure, and as it resumed during the mandate of Mahmoud Abbas. The Israelis made no distinction between the factions or the symbols.

Today, a global trend is being reinforced to “give a chance” to “Hamas.” Initially, it was not expected for the pressure, rebuff, and threat to engender a mechanical cut of aid. Even if “Hamas” is going to adopt a realistic or pragmatic course, it doesn’t seem ready to freely provide concessions; especially that it saw that the concessions of the previous authority failed in ending the occupation or changing the fundamentals of the Israeli aggression policy. There is no doubt that the participation of “Fateh” in a cabinet led by “Hamas” will make “giving a chance” to the Islamic movement more possible. However, Israel will take a long time before it renounces the radicalism trend it has embraced.