by Khaled Abu Toameh
The new video clip released by Hamas should be seen as a response to Abbas's recent claim that the unity government with Hamas will renounce violence and accept Israel. Hamas leaders have repeated over the past few days that the unity deal does not mean that their movement will ever recognize Israel's right to exist. They have also emphasized their intention to pursue terrorist attacks against Israel.
The unity deal with Hamas will harm the Palestinians themselves far more than it will harm the U.S., the EU or Israel.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that may soon become part of the Western-funded Palestinian Authority [PA], has threatened Israelis either to leave their country or face death.
The latest threat came in the form of a video clip published by Hamas' military wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, on the occasion of Israel Independence Day.
In the video clip, the terrorist group, which consists of several thousand militiamen in the Gaza Strip, also threatens to assassinate Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is hoping that the recent "reconciliation" deal he signed with Hamas will see the Hamas militiamen become part of his Fatah-dominated and US-trained security forces.
The video clip serves as a reminder that Hamas has not -- and will not -- abandon its dream of destroying Israel or renouncing terrorism, even after the group joins a Palestinian unity government headed by Abbas.
The video clip was released just as Abbas was holding talks in Doha, Qatar, with Hamas's leader, Khaled Mashaal, to discuss the implementation of the "reconciliation" pact between the two sides. The two men agreed to pursue their efforts to end their differences and form a joint government.
Entitled "The End of Hope," Hamas' two-minute video clip is a parody of the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah [The Hope]. The video starts by describing the Israel Defense Forces as a "hopeless and defeated army built of wax." It goes on to say that the Israelis will soon find themselves divided into two parts: those who would be returned to the countries they came from if they chose to do so, and the "stupid and stubborn" ones who insist on staying and would end up "buried under the earth."
A screenshot from the Hamas "End of Hope" video.
The Hamas message also vows to expel Israelis from Jerusalem and the Western Wall. It concludes by featuring an Israeli flag with the inscription, "Israel will inevitably be eliminated."
The new video released by Hamas should also be seen as a response to Abbas's recent claim that the unity government with Hamas will renounce violence and accept Israel.
Hamas leaders have repeated over the past few days that the unity deal with Abbas's Fatah faction does not mean that their movement will ever recognize Israel's right to exist. They have also emphasized their intention to pursue terrorist attacks against Israel.
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have chosen to ignore Hamas's ongoing threats to destroy Israel and continue terrorist attacks. Instead, Abbas is obviously determined to pursue his efforts to achieve unity with the terrorist movement, while at the same time trying to persuade gullible Westerners that the radical Islamists are marching toward moderation and pragmatism.
Even worse, Abbas is now seeking to expose Palestinians in the West Bank to Hamas's poisonous messages. Earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority leader issued an order permitting all newspapers published in the Gaza Strip, including those belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to be distributed in the West Bank areas under his control.
This means that Abbas is paving the way for the radicalization of more Palestinians. Ironically, Abbas is helping Hamas and other terrorist organizations undermine his rule in the West Bank.
Hamas's words and actions show that the movement is planning to continue working toward the destruction of Israel, regardless of the unity deal with Abbas and his Fatah faction.
Abbas, for his part, is continuing with his attempts to scare the Americans and Europeans into providing the PA with additional funds. The message he is now sending to them is, "Hold me back from falling into the open arms of Hamas."
It remains to be seen whether those who are funding the Palestinian Authority will succumb to this extortion.
Perhaps the time has come for the American and European donors to tell Abbas that this time they are not going to hold him back, and that he is welcome to pursue his efforts to join forces with Hamas and further radicalize his people.
The alignment with Hamas is bad not only for the West and the peace process, but also for Abbas himself. Sooner or later, he and his Fatah faction will find themselves devoured by Hamas and other terrorist groups. The unity deal with Hamas will harm the Palestinians themselves far more than it will harm the U.S., the EU or Israel.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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