Elias Harfoush
Dar Al Hayat (Opinion)
July 1, 2008 - 3:52pm

The truce deal overseen by Hamas along with the Israeli side threatens to turn into divisive issue inside the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the other Palestinian factions there. The breaches committed by Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Islamic Jihad are likely to be repeated and indicate the suspicions of these factions in Hamas's intentions behind the truce. While some wonder about the price that the Islamic movement has earned in return for the truce deal which violates its previously known positions, others tend to raise against this decision and demand ending the truce because it represents national treason as noted by a few statements issued from Gaza.

According to the deal, as it is now known, Hamas has vowed to prevent any missile launching toward Israeli settlements. Its leaders now threaten to arrest any Palestinian who violates the truce as declared by Mahmoud Zahhar who ranks among the hawks within Hamas. The irony that underlies such a position is that it comes from a Palestinian side that had always blamed the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas for favoring a policy of truce with Israel at the expense of the resistance choice. This factor, among others, was responsible for the eruption of violence in Gaza between Gaza and Hamas on the basis of suspecting the positions of Fatah, its president and its other leaders who were spared no accusations by Hamas.

In reality, the only crime those committed was what exactly what Hamas is doing today and what it is calling for. They were looking after the interests of the Palestinian people from a perspective far wider than rigid ideology; and their concern was to evaluate the costs or benefits for the Palestinian people that may result from any action committed by any side to serve specific interests but actually serving no purpose other than afflicting more murder and devastation on the Palestinians. This was also the same position repeatedly reiterated by the Palestinian President over what he dubbed "random" missiles and whose launchers he wanted to deal with from the sole perspective of national interest. Is this not exactly what the leaders of Hamas in Gaza are doing when they resort to threatening and arresting those who breach the truce under the pretext that such actions harm the Palestinian interest? Yet, how can anyone justify the fact that a ban on missiles launched against Israel is a patriotic act of resistance when Hamas orders it but an act of treason when it is sanctioned by the leaders of Fatah?

Right now, Hamas is experimenting with the meaning of commitments and vows just as it is experimenting the difference between ideological instigation and realpolitik. This will be a useful experience since it will permit Hamas to learn how to responsibly deal with the decisions it makes while taking into considerations the interests of the Palestinian citizen in the first place. There is no shame if stopping the missiles, even if by force, offers an opportunity to open the border crossings and allow the entrance of the daily needs of citizens. This is despite our awareness of the Israeli blackmail which imposes restrictions and rationing to allow the minimal amounts of foods, medical supplies, fuels and other needs into the Strip.

There is nothing wrong either if Hamas considered the agreement with Israel, accomplished through Egyptian mediation, a form of recognition by Israel of its control over the Gaza Strip and of its legitimate representation of the Palestinians there. If this is the price that Hamas needed to achieve its passage to the level of national responsibility, then it is an acceptable price, but only if Hamas acknowledged that Fatah had -previously beat it to this same position on the basis of the same causes and under the same circumstances.


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