Hamas and Fatah unite?
When imagining a realistic era of Israelis and Palestinians living as neighbors in peace, any real and lasting peace cannot exclude the reality of a viable Palestinian state with sovereign borders and a prosperous economy.
Whether that Palestinian state would be militarized or not is up to negotiation, as are many of the other issues Palestinians demand, including Israel returning to its 1967 borders and handing over East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capitol.
But for all the talk of a two-state solution, the peace process cannot proceed as long as Hamas is involved. Indeed, the decision of Fatah and Hamas to end years of enmity and division by coming together is disastrous not only for Israel, but especially for the Palestinians.
Hamas (for those who aren't familiar with Middle Eastern politics), is the Palestinian Islamist political party that rules the Gaza Strip in Israel. They are recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Israel. Frankly, it's not hard to see why.
According to Article 28 of the official Hamas Charter: "The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters, the sons of the Arab and Islamic peoples, to enable them to play their role and to join their efforts to those of their brothers among the Muslim Brothers in Palestine."
The fundamental problem with any unity deal including Hamas is that Hamas has not (and has sworn never to) renounce violence or recognize Israel as a legitimate state.
For Hamas, it is their sacred right to resist the Israeli occupation, and in the cold, deadly economy of language that Hamas employs, this translates into indiscriminate attacks against southern Israeli towns.
For Hamas, resisting occupation is a deviant sound bite that works to exonerate them from mayhem and murder. As long as the Israelis retaliate, they're justified in "resisting," and as long as the Israelis inhabit Israel, they're justified in "resisting." As long as Palestinians die from Israeli bullets and bombs, they're justified in "resisting," and as long as Palestinians are fighting Israelis, their resistance is "justified." This circular logic has no opening or possibility for peace.And so therefore lies the crucial and eternal problem that the Palestinians face. Instead of reaching out to establish a deal with Israel, and there are many in Israel who wish to live in peace alongside Palestinians, the Palestinians have told the world that they would much rather prefer to take the road of resistance and abandon any hope of negotiation.
So much for Fatah being a moderate organization with the best interests of Palestinians in mind. This insane move to lock arms with Hamas, the worst thing to happen to Palestinians since Yassir Arafat, will in time prove to be more politically motivated than anything remotely to do with peace of the well being of Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas has foolishly decided to "unite" Fatah with Hamas to end his political career on a note of unity, which is pigheaded considering the crimes and ideology of Hamas.
One can only hope his career doesn't end in a bloodbath.