With the world still buzzing about the killing of Osama bin Laden, yesterday the Washington Post turned its op-ed page over to two writers who advocate support for one of the dead terrorists’ most reliable allies: Hamas.
The peace pact between Hamas and its Fatah rivals that is to be signed in Cairo this week is an obvious blow to the already largely nonexistent chances of peace in the region. Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have already proven that they are unable to bring themselves to make peace with Israel. Abbas refused an offer of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem in 2008 just as his predecessor Yasir Arafat did at Camp David in July 2000. Both men feared that they and the cause of Palestinian nationalism could not survive the recognition of a Jewish state’s legitimacy no matter where its border was drawn.
By choosing peace with Hamas rather than with Israel, Fatah has indicated that rejectionism is its final answer and not, as the Obama administration hoped, a temporary position.
But that doesn’t stop former president Jimmy Carter and former Clinton administration staffer Robert Malley, from applauding the unity pact. According to Carter, Hamas will accept a two-state solution because one its leaders once told him it would. Carter deplores the Hamas Charter that calls not just for the end of the state of Israel but the slaughter of its people. But it is, he says, just a piece of a paper that can be annulled. No harm. No foul. Carter is in denial about the nature of the Islamist regime in Gaza much as he has been in the past about North Korea or—going back to his failed presidency—about Iran and the Soviet Union. Given his own history of outrageous slanders about Israel’s being an apartheid state, though, perhaps it is Hamas’s relentless hostility to the Jewish presence in the land that causes him to sympathize with them.
Malley, a man who has been a principal apologist for the Palestinians for a decade now (he’s the only member of Clinton’s team who claimed that Arafat was blameless for the collapse of the peace talks in 2000) believes the unity pact is a prerequisite for peace. How so? It will now give the PA the strength to deal with Israel. But the assertion is ridiculous assertion, because Hamas has no interest in peace with Israel. Malley is right when he points out that Abbas’s decision to unite with Hamas is a direct result of the Arab Spring and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But he is wrong when he implies that the pact suggests Hamas is moving away from its Iranian and Syrian allies toward Egypt. Precisely the opposite is going on. With the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas’s spiritual godfather) gaining influence there, Egypt is moving away from the United States and becoming friendlier with the Islamist alliance that links Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.
Carter and Malley have no credibility on Hamas or the peace process, and official Washington needs to ignore their plea for the United States to make nice with the Islamists. Instead, the White House must listen to Congress and proceed to put Abbas on notice that if he follows through on the unity pact, it will spell the end of American support for the PA or Palestinian statehood.