Abdullah Iskandar
Al-Hayat (Opinion)
December 12, 2012 - 12:00am

With the historical visit conducted by Hamas’s politburo chief to the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian file is entering a new stage which the Israeli right wing and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu are trying to exploit, in order to undermine Palestinian credibility towards the peace process, end the negotiations with the Palestinians, and eliminate the idea of the two states.

In order to achieve that goal, Netanyahu has a specific deadline which ends with President Barack Obama’s official launching of his second term at the beginning of next year, considering that the voting over Palestine’s non-full membership at the United Nations was accompanied by assurances – whether from those who voted in favor of the resolution or who abstained from voting – that this recognition will mark the beginning of the implementation of the two-state solution. The latter also agreed that the launching of this solution was linked to the United States, which is the only side capable of pressuring Israel to lead it back to these negotiations. And it is believed that such demands might encourage Obama to refocus on the Palestinian file which he neglected during the electoral campaign, especially since he has become liberated – during his second term – from the pressures of the pro-Israeli lobbies that stood alongside Netanyahu when the relations with Obama were cold.

According to the Israeli calculations, particularly the Israeli prime minister’s, such a new situation in the United States should be anticipated, and the international pressures – especially the European ones – should be neutralized, as they are pushing towards the resumption of the negotiations to ensure the two-state solution.

At this level, the settlements plan which was announced upon the voting in favor of the Palestinian membership at the United Nations and was presented as being a response to that step, revealed this anticipation by rendering the settlements a reality undermining the Palestinian state on one hand, and addressing on the other a message to the world saying that Israel will not abide by the solutions wanted by the others.

One might say that the nature of the electoral alliance with the extreme Israeli right wing, which was engineered by Netanyahu, also falls in the context of this anticipatory plan, in order to form a cohesive upcoming government at the level of the rejection of the Palestinian state.

Hence the Israeli approval of Meshaal’s visit to the Strip, as the celebration of Hamas’s anniversary following the deterrence of the last aggression on Gaza, will shed light on the leading role played by the head of the movement’s politburo and Hamas itself on the Palestinian scene, thus allowing Israel to exploit the statements which will be issued during the visit to deduce that the Palestinians still want to eliminate the state of Israel. In addition, the Israeli propaganda focused on Meshaal’s statements during various occasions, especially in regard to the non-relinquishing of the historic Palestine and the resistance, while completely disregarding his highly important political signal in regard to Palestinian reconciliation and his insistence on the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization which is still headed by President Mahmoud Abbas is the main reference and the institution entitled to manage the negotiations file.

Netanyahu used this visit to show that the Palestinians are still trying to eliminate Israel, and are extremists, hardliners and terrorists who cannot be the Hebrew state’s peace partners.

The other facet of this exploitation was seen in the fierce campaign launched against President Abbas to strip him of his credibility. This political campaign was accompanied by measures on the ground in the West Bank, in order to embarrass and practically weaken the Palestinian presidency, whether on the Palestinian arena by blowing Hamas’s role out of proportion, or on the international scene by accusing the president of not announcing clear positions condemning the Islamic movement.

Based on Israeli propaganda, Hamas, which is strong in the Strip and whose influence is growing in the West Bank, constitutes a major security threat to Israel in light of its extremist positions towards the Hebrew state. Consequently, it cannot be a partner in peace. As for Abbas, he lacks credibility, is weak and cannot meet the Israeli conditions for peace.

This is how Israel is trying to undermine in advance any new efforts to resume the talk about the solution that is based on the two states.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017