Commentary Magazine


PA Official: Israelis Fooled About the Difference Between Fatah and Hamas

Some denizens of the Jewish left have become obsessed with the idea that those who speak of Palestinian rejectionism or the lack of a genuine peace partner for Israel are falsifying the record. Palestinian leaders have frequently mocked the idea of accepting the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn, and their media has spewed forth hatred for Jews and Zionism on a consistent basis. But we are still told by groups such as J Street that the Palestinian Authority has embraced the concept of peace and that it is Israel — which has spent the last 18 years making a steady stream of concessions to keep a dying peace process alive — that must be prodded and pressured into giving even more to appease the Arabs.

One of the best antidotes to such distorted reasoning is to read the output of Palestine Media Watch, the website that monitors broadcasts and utterances of the Palestinian leadership. Their translations of articles and videos have provided a sobering dose of reality for Americans whose mainstream media sources have ignored this material. The latest is particularly insightful because in it, a Palestinian diplomat explains in the PA’s official daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida something the Jewish left can’t wrap their heads around: the difference between accepting the reality of Israel and accepting its right to exist and legitimacy.

In the piece, Adli Sadeq, the PA’s ambassador to India, notes the Palestinian Authority and its Fatah movement are willing to bow to the fact of Israel’s existence but never to its right to exist:

They [Israelis] have a common mistake, or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist… Hamas, Fatah and the others are not waging war against Israel right now for reasons related to balance of power. There are no two Palestinians who disagree over the fact that Israel exists, and recognition of it is restating the obvious, but recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from recognition of its [physical] existence.

The distinction between these two concepts is not theoretical. Until the Palestinians accept the Jews have a right to be there and they are entitled to their own homeland alongside a Palestinian state, then any two-state solution is merely a truce until the next round of fighting begins and not a genuine peace.

Sadeq’s candid expression of contempt seems aimed mainly at Jewish leftists who have twisted themselves into pretzels over the years trying to maintain faith in the existence of a Palestinian consensus in favor of peace. He’s dead wrong about the justice of Israel’s cause and the legal right of the Jewish people to live in sovereignty and peace in their historical homeland. But Sadeq is right that many Israelis and Americans have been deceived about the fact that there is no difference between members of both Fatah and Hamas about Israel’s legitimacy or permanence.

This is just one more piece of evidence that peace will require a sea change in Palestinian political culture that is nowhere currently in sight. Of course, PA officials have been quite open about this for many years. It remains to be seen whether a Jewish left blinded by their ideology will ever acknowledge what Sadeq states so plainly.