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As the Palestinian Authority (PA) begins to suffer from a shortfall in foreign aid, it seems increasingly clear that the PA's efforts to forge a more assertive diplomatic approach to Israel — namely, through entering into a reconciliation agreement with Hamas and its intention to pursue recognition of statehood at the UN this September — may well prove disastrous. In the case of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, which has partially informed the US Congress' recent threat to withdraw the $500 million in US aid promised to the to the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Authority stands to lose not only critical sources of aid, but the international credibility they have earned as a result of PM Salam Fayyad's state building efforts since Fatah took control of the PA in 2007. Ironically, the Palestinians appear to have fallen victim to a very familiar trick by interested regional powers — Egypt and Syria — which have orchestrated and supported the deal as a means of exerting leverage against the West amidst the maelstrom of the Arab Spring. For all the change shaking the Middle East, some practices die hard: with this unity deal, the Palestinians have once again been used as a political football by the same regional power players who have historically manipulated the Palestinian cause to suit their own strategic needs.

Egypt's intimate involvement in forging the unity deal was consistent with its longstanding involvement in Palestinian issues. Prior to making peace with Israel in 1979, Egypt participated in the first four Arab-Israeli wars and orchestrated the founding of the PLO in 1964. Since committing to the Camp David Accords, Egypt has situated itself as the lynchpin of Israeli security, and a crucial brokering power for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. This has been the source of its security guarantee from the United States and the substantial military aid which has become crucial to Egypt's economic and political stability.

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juan manuel
September 5th, 2011
9:09 AM
the arabs has refused to reconize israel a millions of times, last time just a few months ago.

September 2nd, 2011
11:09 AM
RE:Matthew MP (Are you really an MP?What a frightening thought!!!. I feel some admiration for the commenters who have the patience to reason with someone who sympathises with Hamas and actually BELIEVES Israel should and would ever go back to pre 1967 borders!

August 17th, 2011
1:08 AM
Within the first paragraph we read: "...with this unity deal, the Palestinians have once again been used as a political football..." Isn't it about time we hold the PA responsible for its own decisions?

August 11th, 2011
6:08 AM
Interesting article. It's quite astonishing how constrained the vision of the Arab-Palestinians must be. Time and again they are manipulated by either their corrupt and autocratic leadership or by regional Arab powers, be they Syria, Egypt or Iran. You'd think after the umpteenth time they'd recognise what's going on. But they seem to blinded by their pathological hatred of Israel that they are fully prepared, like a Pavlovian dog, to repeat the same pattern of behaviour time and again. This begs the question of how and why a polity (if indeed the Arab-palestinians can be called a polity) can be so politically immature. But, given other phenomena occurring in Gaza and Judea/Samaria such as celebration of suicide terrorists, financial remuneration of their families, the naming of streets and squares after these murderers indicates a community suffering from a serious pathology. Given such barbarous behaviour, perhaps one shouldn't be surprised over relatively lesser issues.

August 8th, 2011
6:08 PM
Matthew: lets try and get soime specifics. You say Hamas has, at least sometimes, wanted peace with Israel. Well why retain the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their Charter/covenant? Is that a way to make peace with Jews, do you think?

Matthew MP
August 5th, 2011
5:08 PM
Why would a Palestinian state within the '67 borders be 'liquidation' for the Israelis? Of course it wouldn't. The Israelis resort to such language, because they aren't interested in peace. They long ago decided that the world was against them, and that for their safety, they needed their own land - and would get it, by vacating the original population. They are not prepared to give up on that idea. The story of the ruthless Arabs, manipulatively scheming and plotting against them, has been a crucial support in carrying it out. Of course, if you behave badly enough to your neighbours (as Israel consistently has) they will indeed scheme against you.

August 5th, 2011
1:08 PM
matthew - what is odd is your recollection of history and to a large extent what are the motivators in the middle east and also northern ireland. Israel doesn't want peace - i don't think so. I think the problem is an existential one - peace as offered by the palestinians and their proxies (including the current US administration) comes with the price of liquidation. Ehud Barak gave Arafat the majority (some say 95%) of what the Palestinians wanted at the Wye River Convention. Arafat didn't turn it down - he never responded. Why? because peace would have been bad for business. Same thing in Northern Ireland - except the powers to be from the IRA and the Protestants realized that there was more money to be made in Belfast selling narcotics, extortion, etc. than fighting over some old Maoist manifesto. Armani suits and Jaguars do not come cheap.

Matthew MP
August 5th, 2011
9:08 AM
Lee...comparing Hamas to Hitler is absolutely ridiculous, as you well know. The Israelis are the ones who have had a consistent policy of ethnic cleansing. John was widely reported after the elections that factions within Hamas were strongly arguing that it was time to recognize the reality of Israel. Not, frankly, that I see why the Palestinians should be morally obliged to recognize Israel, which after all has never recognized Palestine. But Fatah does recognize Israel, and Hamas wanted peace,despite the maniac extremism of the Israelis. In the event, Israeli 'accidental' bombings of civilians made this politically impossible for Hamas, and then came the US-Israeli sponsorship of Fatah's undermining of the results of the democratic elections. The enormous extent of the concessions that the Palestinians have been prepared to make was shown at Oslo, and again in the Wikileaks revelations. Hamas, while less willing to bend to the Israeli boot than Fatah, has not been immune from this trend, but of course it suits you lot to be blind to this. Anyway why argue, I see the general trend. I was unfamiliar with Standpoint, and didn't appreciate that it was another Commentary-like Zionist mouthpiece.

John Ryan
August 4th, 2011
12:08 PM
Matthew, What ever gave you the impression that Hamas was reaching out for a peace deal with Israel? I have never seen, read or heard anything other than the fact that they will *never* recognize Israel and that Palestine, from the sea to the river, is completely & exclusively Arab.

August 2nd, 2011
4:08 PM
Matthew, so "everyone" recognizes that the last thing Israel wants is a peace deal do they? Well, maybe everyone you know. It all depends what the deal is. If Palestinians and their arab puppet-masters were to stop firing rockets and making occasional terrorist suicide-bomber sorties, a peace-deal might just stand a better chance, dontcha think? This is not an odd article, just an interim reflection on a confused, confusing, and changing situation. Every article doesn't have to offer some half-baked supposed solution (if you want one of those by the way, read about Norway's foreign-policy line on Israel-Palestine - a 15 year olds' debating team tasked with "putting the case for the Palestinian cause" could probably come up with something more plausible). And in reference to the last lines of the article above, I'm not sure that the "Arab Spring" has much promise. Perhaps so in relative comparison to the Palestinians truly suing for peace, but in general terms, no.

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