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Nadav Shragai: Selling illusions about nonexistent “moderate” Palestinian partner

Selling illusions
By Nadav Shragai Haaretz 28 June 2007
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/875940.html

Only yesterday Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was still allowing the Palestinian
Authority education systems to teach the children of Palestine to aspire to
destroy the State of Israel. Only two days ago the chair of the PA preferred
to make do with condemning acts of terror and murder, mainly because they do
not further the “Palestinian cause,” instead of fighting terror itself.

The “moderate partner,” together with his colleagues in the PA leadership,
is still a signatory to a treaty of understandings with Hamas, which states
that “the right of the refugees to return to their homes and their property
must be guaranteed.”

The Cairo Declaration, which was signed together with Hamas, and which Abu
Mazen has never abandoned, even states that the Palestinians have a right to
use violence against Israel until that same right of return is realized. Not
symbolic, as claimed by those who sell illusions, but practical: not to the
Palestinian state in Gaza and in Nablus, but to Safed, Acre, Lod and Jaffa.

“It’s all talk,” the deceivers will say, but the rifles that Israel
transferred in the past to the “good guys” spoke with fire and wounded and
killed. Palestinian policemen, activists in Tanzim, members of the Fatah
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and members of the presidential guard, Force 17,
fought against Israel Defense Forces soldiers and carried out or helped
carry out terror attacks.

The territories that were transferred to the control of the “moderates” have
become incubators for terror, and some of the economic assistance has also
found its way to terror organizations. The same will happen this time. It’s
only a matter of time. Anyone who tells other stories is deceiving not only
his listeners but also himself.

Hamas and its victory are convenient for us at least in one respect: Hamas
members tell the truth about the future they desire for Israel. They do not
hide behind masks and do not scatter illusions.

Fatah, on the other hand, pretends to be a partner. It will make promises
and sign agreements, but exactly as in the past, that is not the essence but
only the tactics.

The essence is realization of the right of return, or in other words an end
to the Jewish state and to the issue of Jerusalem, whose division is neither
an ethical nor a practical possibility, as any intelligent person
understands.

Yasser Arafat once compared the agreements and the understandings with us to
the Hudaybiya treaty between Mohammed and the members of the Quraishi tribe,
which afterward was abrogated by him. “Hudaybiya” has become etched in
Islamic awareness as a model of legitimate tactics.

In a moment of weakness even Shimon Peres once admitted that the
Palestinians treat agreements with them as “ornamentation.” They use them
and throw them away. The only reason Fatah is now persecuting Hamas members
in Judea and Samaria is the threat to Fatah’s status there. This is not some
new awareness, which has suddenly burst forth, that terror is unacceptable
and must be ruled out.

Even the result – the temporary success of Abu Mazen in pushing Hamas into a
corner in Judea and Samaria – is not to be credited to his ability, but to
the fact that the Shin Bet security services and the IDF can be found in
every corner there. Abu Mazen is a fiction. And Ramallah, where Hamas won a
smashing victory in the last elections, is the capital of that fiction.

Without Israeli military control on the ground, not only would the terror
attacks not be prevented, but Hamas would also reprise a substantial portion
of its Gaza success there as well.

Since the Oslo process, Israeli governments have been captives of the
concept that others will do the work for them, that the “moderates” will
fight the extremists with the weapons they receive. Time after time they
have become addicted to this bittersweet illusion.

But Abu Mazen, like Arafat, will not fight against his brothers. At the end
of the day he will prefer his brother to his enemy. Temporarily he may
present a different facade to survive, but he’ll get over it faster than
people think.

Terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who committed murder while wearing a Fatah
uniform, will not save us. After all, only a few months ago he wrote the
compromise documents with the murderous Hamas, from prison.

Abu Mazen, complained Ehud Olmert only recently, deceived him three times.
At the Sharm el-Sheikh summit this week Olmert allowed him to do it for the
fourth time, but mainly Olmert deceived himself.

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