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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
"The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining
Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations"

So claims Ari Shavit.

I would suggest that, in retrospect, much of the activity surrounding Oslo
has been "undermining Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic

Oslo was, from the first day, a story of tremendous corruption - both
financial and professional - among Israeli officials involved in the

- many of the Israelis involved with the Palestinians made personal fortunes
in business deals that they made - at times with the very same Palestinians
that they interacted with on a profffessional basis - that were related to
the PA.

- many of the Israelis involved seriously and consciously distorted the
assessments that they provided to policy makers so that their careers would
not be hurt by being identified as an "enemy of the peace process".

- democratic values were ignored or abused in moves to push through various
policies and programs that were at odds with the mandates given the elected
leadership as expressed in the results of elections in which the candidate
and parties promised that a vote for them was a vote against those very
policies and programs.

- Oslo took Yasser Arafat and his PLO off the dungheap of history (wallowing
in Tunis after being thrown out of Lebanon) - leading ultimately to the
diplomatic challenge we face today.]

Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'
By Ari Shavit, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 11:59 17/12/2009

The cat is out of the bag: Palestine, all of Palestine. Standing before
100,000 people in the center of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh this week declared the
objective of the Hamas movement. The moderate prime minister of the moderate
faction of the Palestinian religious movement publicly announced the peace
solution for which his government is aiming.

The ultimate solution is not the total liberation of the Gaza Strip or a
Palestinian state. It is the liberation of all of Palestine.

Haniyeh did not say so outright, but his words are clear. Hamas is demanding
Ramle and Lod, Haifa and Jaffa, Abu Kabir and Sheikh Munis. It is also
demanding the land on which this article was written and the land on which
this article was printed - the land on which the editorial offices of
Haaretz are located and the land on which the Haaretz printing plant is
located. The land, the entire land. Greater Palestine.

In recent years, quite a number of experts have promised us that Hamas does
not really mean it. Hamas is only playing tough, but its intentions are
lofty: cease-fire, Green Line, coexistence. Live and let live. But no
message conveyed by any senior Hamas member to any diplomat behind closed
doors is equal in status to the message conveyed by Haniyeh to the masses.
What counts is only the direct and open statement made by the Palestinian
leader to his people. Palestine, all of Palestine. Every piece of Israeli
land on which any Israeli citizen lives. His home, your home, our home. The
land beneath our feet.

Ostensibly, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is an alternative
to Hamas. Two days ago Abbas told Haaretz correspondent Avi Issacharoff that
an agreement could be reached within six months. There's one small problem:
Similar things were said to us when the Beilin-Abbas agreement was
formulated in 1995. Similar things were said to us on the eve of Camp David
2000. Similar things were promised us when the Geneva Initiative was signed
in 2003. Similar things were promised us when Israel went to Annapolis in

But every time an Israeli leader took another significant step toward Abbas,
Abbas became evasive. To this day Abbas has not responded positively to the
offer of 100 percent made to him by former prime minister Ehud Olmert 15
months ago.

We can understand why Abbas is suspicious of Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. But it's impossible to
understand why Abbas has once again evaded Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud
Barak and former Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin, or why the Palestinian "peace
leader" has never signed a draft peace deal or offered a peace compromise.

Minister Benny Begin says the reason is that, in its own way, Fatah is also
a Greater Palestine movement. Others say the reason is that since Abbas is a
refugee from Safed, he will never give up the right of return. Some argue
that Abbas wants to but cannot, and others believe he can but doesn't want

Whatever the case, Mahmoud Abbas seems to be presenting a mirage of peace.
He has been talking about two states for the past 21 years, without being
willing to pay the price the Palestinians must pay in order to implement the
two-state solution.

The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining
Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations. But both Hamas and
Fatah are making it very difficult to end the occupation. With Hamas
controlling the Gaza Strip, arming itself to the teeth and enjoying the
support of about one-third of the Palestinians, it has the right to veto any
diplomatic progress. With Fatah unwilling to recognize the Jewish
nation-state and objecting to a demilitarized Palestinian state, there is no
chance for a peace treaty.

Haniyeh and Abbas are pushing Israel into a trap, each in his own way. Only
naifs believe that additional negotiations over a final-status agreement
will extricate Israel from the trap. But the alternative to a final-status
agreement is not a continuation of the status quo. The alternative is an
Israeli initiative. MK Shaul Mofaz's plan is one possibility; a second
disengagement is another.

Whatever the case, Israel must deal with the existential threat of the
occupation on its own. Time is running out, and the writing is on the wall.
"Palestine," the wall is blaring, "all of Palestine."

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