A Pact With the Devil
by Steven Emerson
June 26, 2008
As Qassam rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Southern Israeli town Sderot on Wednesday morning, and again on Thursday, Hamas terrorists proved once again what everyone should already know – their word is meaningless. Well, Hamas' word on matters of peace, anyway. One need not look any further than Hamas' charter, which calls for Islam to "obliterate" Israel, to understand why.
And yet despite that foreknowledge, and despite a considerable degree of public skepticism, the Olmert government opted to "give peace a chance" with Hamas, entering into a truce with the terrorist organization bent on Israel's destruction, on Thursday, June 19. Five days later, the rockets were flying from Gaza. The Islamic Jihad terrorist group claimed credit for sending a volley of missiles, and afterwards, Hamas issued a statement saying that it will not "police" the truce with Israel.
As a reminder, Hamas pledged that, should Israel agree to the truce after much pleading from the terrorist group, the State Department and the "international community," that:
- All Gaza-Israel violence stops (emphasis added)
And now, rather conveniently and unsurprisingly, Hamas is basically saying "you didn't really expect us to mean ‘all' violence, did you?" And this, aside from the rocket fire, is the latest in a series of reminders that there is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, from entering into a pact with the devil.
According to the Associated Press:
"Even if there is a violation by some factions, Hamas emphasizes its commitment to the calm and is working to implement the calm," (Hamas leader Khalil) al-Haya said.
"But Hamas is not going to be a police securing the border of the occupation," he added. "No one will enjoy a happy moment seeing Hamas holding a rifle in the face of a resistance fighter."
So there's your truce for you. Hamas says it won't launch rockets at Israeli neighborhoods, but it won't stop others from doing so. First, Palestinian Islamic Jihad struck. On Thursday, it was the Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Given this attitude, it's no surprise Israel is considering a military response.
Remember, Hamas is the government in Gaza, responsible for what goes on inside and what blasts are sent from it. In order to secure the truce, Hamas didn't pledge merely a "commitment to calm," they pledged to stop all violence from Gaza. Forget the political considerations of being either "pro-Israel" or "pro-Palestinian" for a moment, and ask why Israel should enter into an agreement with an organization that states it has no intention to honor what it agreed to just days before.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has also announced that Hamas would continue to its smuggling operations along the Egypt-Gaza border, which again, should surprise no one, since clearly Hamas only wanted the "commitment to calm" in the first place in order to resupply and rebuild its infrastructure. Hamas is not at all interested in peace, and never has been – a lesson that Israelis have learned time and time again.
And whether or not Israel should enter into an agreement with Hamas at all is a separate question from why Israel chose to enter into this agreement with Hamas.
If Israel had received any concrete gains from entering into the truce, such as the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, that may have been reason enough to deal with Hamas. But all Israel gained on that front was a "promise" to enter into negotiations for what would only be another in a long series of hugely unbalanced "prisoner swaps," in which Israel would be expected to release dozens of Hamas operatives in exchange for Shalit, and at what price?
The latest "truce" is eerily reminiscent of past agreements the Israelis entered into with the late-Yasser Arafat, under correspondingly large levels of international pressure. The Israelis were given assurances that, should Arafat and the Palestinian Authority violate the terms of the agreement, the Israelis could remove Arafat. Of course, the Israelis could never actually remove Arafat from office, despite his copious violations of the "peace" agreements, because of the inevitable outcry from the "international community" that angled for the agreements in the first place.
Unsurprisingly, despite having pushed for Israel to enter into a truce with Hamas, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had nothing to say about Hamas' violations of the truce, speaking Tuesday in Berlin at a conference rather ironically designed for "Support of Palestinian Civil Security and Rule of Law," but instead, had plenty to say about Israel's construction plans in its own capital city of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, not only is Hamas failing to live up to its commitments in Gaza, it is still vigorously targeting Israeli civilians elsewhere. Buried in a Reuters article on the post-truce rocket barrage from Gaza, we learn that Hamas has "claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that wounded three Israeli hikers."
So as Hamas is taking target practice at hikers in the West Bank, and blatantly violating the "truce" it secured in Gaza, perhaps the Israeli government will come to its senses, and reconsider its decision to enter into a deal with the devil.