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P.A. Official: Unity Pact Is Void If Hamas Carried Out Kidnapping

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

As the search for the three missing Israeli teens continues, a Palestinian Authority official has said that the recent unity agreement between the P.A. and Hamas would be voided if Hamas is behind the kidnapping. Avi Issacharoff reports on how the boys’ abduction is a breach of the deal between Fatah and Hamas:

… the kidnapping would mark a breach of the understandings between Fatah and Hamas, and would render their unity agreement null and void.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that the assessment in Palestinian intelligence is that Hamas, or a faction within Hamas, was responsible for the kidnappings Thursday night of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frankel.

Again, we ask that you join us in prayer for the three boys’ safe return.

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Monday, June 16th, 2014 at 3:45 PM  | Stand For Israel

After Unity, Israel to Hold P.A. Responsible for Rocket Fire

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

As we noted in today’s Daily Dispatch, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas agreed on a unity government today. After the deal was announced, Israel’s leaders denounced the new government, saying they would hold the P.A. responsible for any rockets fired from Gaza:

The move angered Israel for including the Hamas movement, which refuses to recognize Israel and which Israel and much of the international community consider a terror organization.

In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, the security cabinet denounced the new Palestinian Authority leadership, with Netanyahu calling P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas a peace rejectionist and vowing not to negotiate with his new government.

The cabinet decided Israel would now view the Palestinian government as responsible for any hostile action emanating from the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank …

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Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 2:25 PM  | Stand For Israel

Choosing Other People’s Leaders

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

The Israeli press is reporting that the chairwoman of one of Israel’s small, left-wing political parties said on Tuesday that the only possible successor to Fatah leader and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is a man named Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti, of course, will find it difficult to lead the Palestinian Authority as he is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his activities as a terrorist responsible for the deaths of Israelis. He was a leader of the First and Second Intifadas, and personally directed terror attacks – including suicide bombings – against military and civilian targets inside Israel.

Barghouti is extremely popular among Palestinians of nearly all factions. But Israel wants him in prison badly enough that his inclusion was a deal-breaker in the 2011 prisoner release deal to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit – this despite the fact that Israel ended up freeing over 1,000 prisoners. Releasing Barghouti was a step too far.

The unlikelihood of Barghouti ever leading the P.A. notwithstanding, all of this raises a good question: Who will replace Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority? He is 79 years old and currently serving the ninth year of the four year term to which he was elected. If new elections do result from the nascent unity agreement being cobbled together by Hamas and Fatah, it is difficult to see how Abbas could run. Furthermore, the way he has undertaken negotiations makes clear that his stomach isn’t in fighting and his heart isn’t in talking.

If Abbas doesn’t run, none of the other options are good. Someone will have to replace him, but most of those possible successors are either more corrupt or more violent than Abbas. And none of them have a broad enough base of support among the highly factionalized Palestinian public to hold the street in the course of making real concessions. If a Palestinian leader is ever to emerge who can pull that culture back from the death-worship cult it has…

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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 8:46 AM  | Stand For Israel

P.A. Unity Update

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

A few weeks ago, we expressed doubt that a Hamas-Fatah unity deal would ever come to fruition. Since that time, there have been some interesting developments. Our core prediction – that a unity agreement would fizzle out or blow up before being implemented – hasn’t changed. But there are indications that both parties are more serious, that international opposition has weakened, and that thoughts are already turning to what happens after a unity government is agreed to.

To begin with the seriousness of Hamas and Fatah leaders, reports out of the region yesterday announced that Hamas forces withdrew from the Gaza home of Fatah and P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas. The villa, which had been used by Hamas as a headquarters, is mostly symbolic; but symbolism matters.

The European Union announced a few days ago that, despite the fact that it still considers Hamas to be a terror group (whew!), “something must be done” to forge peace in the Middle East and, thus, Brussels is supportive of a unity agreement. So, being labeled a terrorist organization by the Europeans now means that you’re marginally unlikely to have their full cooperation in the near term – but wait five minutes and we’ll see. All because, obviously, doing something is better than doing nothing. The ridiculousness of this position aside, the E.U.’s change in attitude suggests that a unified P.A. government will not have to forgo aid from Europe like it will from the U.S.

Lastly, there seems to be a focus by Palestinian leaders on the legitimacy of the government they cobble together – meaning a new round of elections in the near future and approval of the unity government (should one be agreed to) by the current P.A. parliament (in which Hamas has a majority).

We still believe a deal is unlikely.  Symbolism aside, the two sides hate each other. Putting together a unity government is a massive exercise not just in statecraft but in ego navigation and internal politics. And, whatever the E.U….

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Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

Still the Palestinian Authority Glorifies Terror

(Photo: Pictorial Library of Bible Lands - Jerusalem)

(Photo: Pictorial Library of Bible Lands – Jerusalem)

Unlike those of us living outside of Israel, Israelis are “treated” to a steady diet of stories like this one from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Elliott Abrams. Imagine if you were pressured to make peace with a group of people whose culture responded positively to stories like this one. Would you have any confidence that such a peace would be real?

This is the kind of abuse covered by the pallid term “incitement.” While it continues as official P.A. policy, while Palestinian society is taught that blowing up a restaurant filled with parents and children is an act worth celebrating, it must seem to Israelis that peace is far away.

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 9:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

With Unity Deal, a Catch-22 for Abbas

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

Elhanan Miller, writing in The Times of Israel, has a unique, fascinating, and entirely plausible theory for the sudden interest in unity with Hamas by P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas: the Palestinian failure to hold elections since 2006 harms his international standing and makes it more difficult for him to pressure Israel in the world community:

The truth of the matter is that Abbas plainly did not turn to Hamas for the sake of negotiations with Israel, but rather for the sake of national elections in the Palestinian territories, in a bid to regain something the Israeli government has long argued he sorely lacks: legitimacy to rule.

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Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 8:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

Dismantle the Palestinian Authority? Not Likely.

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

Avi Issacharoff, writing at The Times of Israel, notes that the probability of the P.A. being disbanded is extremely low because what would follow would be the total societal meltdown of what remains of Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian economy. The saying in Israel is that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity – but Issacharoff thinks they won’t make this mistake this time:

A scenario in which the Palestinian Authority is dissolved is possible, but its probability is low, very low. The discussion in recent days over the possibility of the P.A. being dismantled has been held mainly in the Israeli media, with little to no presence in the discourse of the Palestinian media and among P.A. leaders.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

Same Old Song and Dance

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

It is proverbial that familiarity breeds contempt. So, in the past week, one could be forgiven for harboring a sense of contempt for the familiar machinations of the Palestinian Authority.

Having never taken peace talks with Israel seriously – but having used those negotiations to win concessions from Israel totaling hundreds of freed terrorists while giving nothing in return – the gravy train finally stopped when Israel refused to continue the charade by releasing another round of prisoners.

Immediately after, the Palestinians sought recognition of Palestine – a nation that does not exist – by a host of United Nations agencies. They have threatened to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court, where they would almost certainly pursue charges against Israel and her leaders. And, most recently, they have returned to the familiar tropes of threatening to disband the Palestinian Authority and engaging in unity talks with Hamas.

The Palestinian National Authority (P.A.) was created as part of the Oslo Accords in 1994. The P.A. was established to administer areas of the West Bank and Gaza as a preliminary step to independence and a Palestinian state.  The P.A. was ruled by Fatah, Yasser Arafat’s political party, until the 2006 elections, which were won by the Hamas terrorist organization. Those were the last elections held for P.A. positions. In 2002, in response to a massive wave of suicide terror against Israeli civilians, the Israel Defense Forces took control over most of the population centers that the P.A. administered. While the P.A. still ran the civilian government, the IDF was responsible for security with the exception of some policing authority still allowed to P.A. police. The P.A. performs some rudimentary governmental functions, but very little. Its benefit is purely symbolic and, like much else in the Middle East, that symbolism is largely a relic of a time not currently reflected by the facts on the ground. Disbanding the P.A. is a meaningless gesture by a group of people who spend all their time…

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas Bets on Kerry’s Desperation

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Seth Mandel, writing at Commentary, notes that the not-dead-yet negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians refuse to die because P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, who walked away from the table and unilaterally applied to membership in a dozen or so U.N. agencies, still thinks he can extract some concessions from Israel via U.S. pressure:

What’s the argument in favor of a round of concessions as preconditions in addition to releasing the terrorists? Abbas is playing Kerry. He assumes that Kerry is sufficiently desperate for negotiations that he’ll lean on Netanyahu to give Abbas whatever he wants.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 8:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas Fled Talks the First Chance He Got

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

It may sound like a broken record, but since Israel’s enemies will keep blaming the Jewish state for the imminent failure of the latest round of peace talks, we feel the need to keep sharing with you early postmortems that call it like it is. Today, Jonathan Tobin of Commentary takes a different angle on Abbas’ refusal to make any concessions:

Abbas had no room to maneuver to make peace even if he were truly willing to do so. Negotiating an agreement, even one that would give the Palestinians pretty much everything they want in terms of statehood in the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem, isn’t in his interest because signing such an agreement is far more dangerous than being blamed for scuttling the peace talks. The safer thing for Abbas is to seize any pretext to flee the talks and claim he’s seeking Palestinian independence via the U.N., a futile gesture that will do nothing for his people.

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Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 8:15 AM  | Stand For Israel
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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
Heartbreak, Courage - and Unity

The news from Israel has been heartbreaking. Ten more IDF soldiers were killed yesterday, five while fighting Hamas terrorists who crossed into Israel through tunnels…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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