Hamas-Fatah unity: The liberal case against


Jamie Kirchick, who has published in Commentary, is not a "liberal", at least not in the tribal sense.

But this week in Ha’aretz he makes an interesting case against the Fatah-Hamas pact, based on liberal arguments.

He says Western boosters of the pact, like Jimmy Carter, Robert Malley and Daniel Levy, focus too much on the particulars of how unity might advance the peace process, and ignore the bigger picture of how enabling a repressive, Islamist group runs counter to everything positive about the Arab Spring:

Hamas is everything that self-professed liberals should be "prejudiced" toward: obscurantist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, warlike and rejectionist. It calls for the death of homosexuals and bans dancing. Its charter beckons Muslims to hunt down Jews from "behind rocks and trees," claims that Muslims "have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad" and, in a prescient use of the rhetoric that has since united the radical Western left and the reactionary Islamic right, accused Jews of "Nazism." It picks fights with Israel that result in the needless deaths of Palestinian civilians. It could end the blockade in Gaza tomorrow if it wanted to, simply by laying down arms, renouncing terrorism and accepting Israel’s right to exist – but no amount of Palestinian suffering will ever cause it to do so.

This unity deal breathes new life not only into Palestinian rejectionists but Israeli ones as well. A gift to the Israeli right, a unity government with Hamas will only strengthen the claims of Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas that there is no Palestinian partner for peace and thus no reason for making further concessions. Palestinian unity is indeed a prerequisite for a two-state solution, but it’s fair to ask at what price that unity should come. Israelis, the majority of whom have long supported a two-state solution, cannot be expected to make deals with an organization constitutionally bound to the genocide of Jews.

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