As we went to press on Wednesday, we learned that Hamas and Fatah had agreed “in principle,” as The New York Times put it, “to end the years-long internal Palestinian schism.” (We must say that we have never before seen the words “Hamas” and “principle” in the same sentence.)
According to the Times, a Hamas spokesman announced at a press conference in Cairo that “the two sides had reached a preliminary agreement to form a transitional unity government for the Palestinian territories to be followed by new elections after a year. He said the leaders of Fatah and Hamas are expected to meet within a week to sign a formal agreement.”
This is, of course, bad news for Israel. Coupled with the heaving instability in the entire region, this union can only make the neighborhood more dangerous. The Palestinian Authority, despite its many weaknesses and flaws, had a certain predictability. Also, being a secular entity, it was not (at least overtly) driven by Islamic militarism. It managed, therefore, to have a working relationship with Israel. The new entity may very well be a Hamas of a different color.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to the Times, “The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.” He added, “Peace with both of them is impossible, because Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel and says so openly.” We are glad to report that the United States was quick to weigh in against Hamas and on Israel’s behalf. (See page 29.)
The opportunities that may have been available for Israel are quickly disappearing – which means that American Jewry has to be ever more vigilant on its behalf.