The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

"Hamas is ready to talk"

Hamas' Mousa Abu Marzouk has an op-ed responding to a British parliamentary committee's support for engaging with Hamas:

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | Hamas is ready to talk:

While Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is busily courting Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas as a "partner for peace", successive voices continue to speak out against efforts to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government. As the Britain's Commons foreign affairs committee concluded on Monday, this strategy is counterproductive and doomed to fail, for the simple reason that the support of the Palestinian people is unmistakably lacking. Abbas's party does not democratically represent the Palestinians, yet what is in effect now a dictatorship in the West Bank is being welcomed by Israel and its western allies. The duplicity of this situation is shameful. Israel and its allies were quick to dismiss Hamas and the national unity governments and isolate both, and are now equally as quick to welcome an illegally formed self-proclaimed government for the Palestinians. Is this democracy?
It concludes:

Hamas welcomes dialogue. If the international community is serious about peace in the Middle East, there need to be non-partisan efforts to achieve it. It is not sufficient for Israel or its allies to continue to dismiss Hamas as "extremist", as we are made up of every part of Palestinian society.

Those who demand the boycott of Hamas repeat flimsy accusations that cannot withstand non-partisan scrutiny. They do so because they want a Palestinian "peace" partner who will not endanger Israel's expansionist aspirations. This is not diplomacy; this is bigotry.

The Palestinians have been abandoned by the international community. The cruelty of this treatment will go down in history. It is time to create a new history for the region, and to recognise the real representatives of the Palestinian people.
I would have liked to see a more specific call to Fatah and the return to a unity government, but it's spot on in the sentence that "they want a Palestinian peace partner who will not endanger Israel's expansions aspirations." Fatah better do some weeding in its ranks soon and get rid of collaborators, or there will not be anyone but Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda to deal with in the Occupied Territories.

Update: On a related note, Le Figaro reports that Mahmoud Abbas is currently considering banning Hamas from participating in future Palestinian elections by passing a law (how, I'm not sure) that would require any party to "respect the PLO charter" and "agree to existing accords with Israel." Hamas has rejected the move and called, to its credit, for "dialogue and national unity." The article also points out that in March 2005 Hamas agreed to the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinian people, but only after it carries out reforms, which it still hasn't done. Egyptian and other Arab diplomats are currently encouraging Abbas not to exclude Hamas, but you have to wonder whether the Israelis and American agents of Israel in the White House such as Elliott Abrams are pushing for this.