It was evident for some time , if one looked closely and read the signs: Fatah and Hamas were going to re-establish communication and try to patch things up. There have been reports in the Arab press for some days — the most significant report I saw (unconfirmed) was that a secret deal has already been reached between the factions. Yesterday Prince Saud made an official statement that there could be no peace negotiations for the Palestinians unless the factions first came to an understanding.
And now it has made Israeli press. In fact, several things made Israeli press today in rapid succession: First, that officials of Hamas and Fatah have revealed that they’ve been conducting secret talks. Shortly after that came news that Hamas’s Mashaal announced that he has asked Yemen to work on securing an understanding between the factions. And former (Hamas) PA prime minister Haniyeh declared that he would step aside if this would help reconciliation.
Then more: Fatah officials told The Jerusalem Post that several Arab nations were involved in the mediation, and that while talk was still in early stages, meetings were being held in a variety of venues — Cairo, Damascus, Beirut and several Gulf state capitals.
I had written the other day about the Palestinian forked tongue and I cannot imagine a more fitting description for how Abbas is behaving than this. These talks didn’t start yesterday. And yet he has been functioning under the pretense of not having anything to do with Hamas and has eagerly awaited the concessions and the money that will "strengthen" him in his fight against Hamas. In fact, the PA has just released a new "wish list" that includes armored cars, jeeps, machine guns, several thousand rifles plus millions of rounds, bullet-proof vests, stun grenades and additional combat gear. They have indicated that they need this to stay strong in Judea and Samaria, and were hoping to make purchases from Egypt and Jordan with US money.
I cannot speak for what actually went on at the meeting between Abbas and Olmert on Monday, but Olmert came away insisting that Abbas said he would have nothing to do with Hamas.
And even now Abbas is playing it to the hilt: He is insisting that what Hamas did in Gaza was very bad and that he absolutely would not talk to them unless they reversed the current situation. Sorry, Mahmoud. It’s too late for that, because your own people in Fatah have admitted there is already talk with Hamas.
I would like to believe that the world might learn a lesson from this, with regard to trusting Palestinian officialdom. But I know better. The world doesn’t want to learn this lesson.
I confess: I am fascinated as to how this will play out. Does George Bush know yet that he has egg on his face? Or Condoleezza? Will that doomed "peace conference" be touted anyway? Will Blair, in his new role that mandates strengthening Abbas, insist that he hears no evil and sees no evil? Will there be a way to "reinterpret" Hamas so that it becomes acceptable?
Or will Western officials throw up their hands in surrender and admit that forging a "peace based on a two-state solution" is an impossibility in the current climate?
And Ehud Olmert? Where does this leave him?
Yesterday, reports — which the prime minister’s office absolutely and most vociferously denied — surfaced, most significantly in Haaretz, regarding a possible plan for peace with the Palestinians that Olmert was considering: It would have permitted settlements to remain on 5% of Judea and Samaria with land from within the Green Line (in Arab areas) given to the Palestinians to compensate.
And what of our vaunted defense minister , Ehud Barak? He says that having technological defenses against missiles is a prerequisite to pulling out from Judea and Samaria. This is clear? He is acknowledging that pulling out would make us the target of attacks. But rather than saying we shouldn’t pull out if this is the case, he says we must first make certain we can defend ourselves.
Hopefully, this issue will become moot . But such a take, by a military man, is incomprehensible to me.
Well, it took many hours, and it was ugly, but the authorities have removed the two families, and their many supporters, from their homes in the former market place, now called Mitzpe Shalhevet, in Hebron.
A handful of religious soldiers refused to participate . They have now been disciplined and removed from combat units. Their actions have sparked a considerable debate in this country, to which I hope to return at a later date.
In my article about the situation , I provided background, which I found people welcomed. Please, if you would like to learn even more, and have a clearer picture, visit the Hebron page on this website for a review of Hebron’s history and an explanation of what the Jewish community there copes with: https://arlenefromisrael.info/hebron/.
There are several basic points to be made here . Hebron is historically a Jewish city. And to this day we have rights there. The notion that the presence of the Jewish community there is a stumbling block to peace or makes life hard for the Arab population is simply erroneous.