Le Monde: Rejecting Hamas Harms Reform
Tuesday, February 7,2006 00:00
By (Islam online)
Alain Gresh, the Editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, said that the efforts by Western for reform and democracy in the Arab world are in vain as long as the West refuses to deal with Hamas. He stressed that this decline will cast harmful impact on the long-desired political reform and democratization in the Arab countries.

Gresh questioned the West commitment to democracy and free elections when it rejects Hamas that is elected through a democratic process defying the Western and Israeli efforts to influence the vote

’The negative attitude of the West will have adverse repercussions on reform…it may provide the Arab regimes with an excuse for not taking concrete steps towards reform since the outcome of the democratic process will not be respected even by the West,’ he added.

The Western countries set conditions to deal with Hamas: to disarm its military wing, to recognize Israel, and to commit to Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas, on the other hand, refuses these preconditions.

Gresh labeled these conditions as ’hindering’ saying ’the European requests are unrealistic. Logically, the recognition of Israel can not be the first prerequisite.’

However, ’Hamas should embrace the singed agreements between the two sides as a reality,’ he remarked. ’Hamas implied this prospect when it announced its willingness for having a long-term truce with Israel.’

Among the reasons for Hamas victory during last election, according to Gresh, were the rejection of foreign pressure by voters and the popular support the movement enjoyed due to its commitment to the resistance and its involvement in social services, adding to this was the failure and corruption of the Fatah movement

’Fatah did not fail only in the peace process but also in providing a better life for the Palestinians and in establishing even an outline of an independent state,’ he expounded.

Gresh stressed that Israel, by being the occupying force, is the source of the problem in the region, not Hamas. The impediment of the peace process is the Israeli settlement policy which will see no change, whether Hamas or others comes to office.’ ’When Fatah seized power, the peace process was demised,’ he illustrated. ’The Israeli strategy is unchangeable!’ for example, Israel considered ’the late Palestinian Chairman Arafat an obstacle for the peace process, however, no change has taken place following his death… even on the issue of prisoners, Israel released only dozens while more than 8 thousands are still behind bars,’ Gresh concluded.