With direct peace talks between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians scheduled to start up on Thursday, some powers in the region are making sure their voices are heard loud and clear. And what they have to say isn’t pretty.
With only 2 days to go before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to sit down to talk peace with West Bank Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, Iran-backed Hamas let its feelings about the negotiations be known, when Hamas gunmen murdered four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, in a terrorist attack near the town of Kiryat Arba.
The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, issued an official congratulation to the gunmen, saying the attack was “a normal reaction.”
The attack was clearly staged to sabotage the direct talks, which have been delayed by various acts of violence and continuing distrust for over 20 months. One of the major concerns delaying a final settlement has been the question of how well can Palestinian security forces fullfill their commitment to control the extremists’ violence, prevent terrorist attacks, and deliver a measure of security to the Israelis when left to govern the area.
While it did succeed in raising the level of caution going into the talks, this murderous attempt did fail in its ultimate goal – derailing the talks completely. According to Israeli Embassy spokesman Jonathan Peled,
It [the attack] impacts, but it shouldn’t derail the talks that are coming to fruition this week. This terror act is a clear sign of the imperative need for us to ensure that if Israel’s security needs are not addressed, it’s going to be very, very difficult to begin making concessions in the West Bank.
The timing of this is deliberate to try and derail the Palestinians and all those who seek peace in the region from coming and sitting down at the table with Israel.
I’m really glad that the talks will go on as scheduled. Israel has never been a country that bows down to terrorists and extremists, and it shouldn’t start now, and neither should the West Bank Palestinian leadership. It does make you wonder though.
Let’s not forget that the Hamas charter clearly states that
The land of Palestine has been an Islamic waqf (religious endowment) throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or a part of it or abandon it or a part of it…
Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.
So it makes me wonder:
What is the future likely to bring, with a terrorist group that is religiously(!) opposed to any negotiations of the possibility of peace, ruling over a million of the Palestinians?
And what kind of negotiation or peace settlement can there be, when part of the leadership is open to it, and part of the leadership prepared to kill(!) to stop any chance for peace?
Does make me think the three-state solution may be the only option after all. But Hamas (and its backer Iran) will make sure even that will be over many dead bodies.
Weigh in: What do you think? Does this latest attack change how you think about this upcoming round of peace negotiations? And how serious a blow is the presence of Hamas to the possibility of peace?