This Ongoing War..
31 December '13..
With US Secretary of State John Kerry due back in Jerusalem in two days time, and Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority flush with the sense of having achieved something important by getting 26 more of their convicted killers out of jail and back in the villages, it's an appropriate time to take a moment to reflect about the Islamist terrorist group, Hamas.
What role does it play in the relentless peace process?
Jonathan D. Halevi, an analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has just come out with a paper whose title gives the conclusion away: "Hamas: Abbas Does Not Represent the Palestinians in Negotiations". He reminds us that Hamas does not recognize Abbas as a legitimate president. Abbas, in fact, does not have Hamas' permission to even visit their turf, Gaza.
The Hamas movement, which in the last elections (2006) won an overwhelming majority in the Palestinian Parliament, uncompromisingly opposes any negotiations with Israel, does not accept the PA as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and has reiterated its firm stance that any agreement reached with Israel will be worthless and will not represent the position of the Palestinian people.
American policy regarding the peace process is based on the premise that it is possible to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians represented by the PLO-Palestinian Authority (PA) under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
However, the PA does not represent all of the components of the Palestinian people, nor does it have a mandate to make decisions on the core political issues in the name of the Palestinian people.