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Hamas Isolated Against Israel Recognition

The day after an IDF special forces unit infiltrated Gaza and killed a four-man team as they set up a Qassam rocket attack Tuesday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists launched another rocket attack that struck the home of Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz’s neighbor. A PIJ member said, “We will continue to bombard Zionist settlements established in the land of Palestine.”

Yet, within the following 24-hour period, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced that they would accept the recently drafted Barghouti peace plan, written and signed by key Palestinian terrorist leaders currently in Israeli prisons. The Barghouti Peace Plan (officially called the National Reconciliation Document) calls for the formation of a Palestinian state alongside a recognized Israel.

Meeting in China with other Arab leaders, Hamas’ PA Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Zahar, rejected all calls for the recognition of Israel and establishment of a two-state solution supported by many Arab governments. He paid lip service to the Arab supporters whom Hamas also relies upon for financial support, saying “We are discussing that because we are responding to the will of Arab leaders.” Mincing few words however, Zahar reiterated that there is no sense of urgency on the part of Hamas. Calling the plan “impractical,” he added, “It’s not an urgent issue. What is Israel going to offer Palestine - that’s more urgent.”

Many of those same Arab leaders take issue with that stance, fearing an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank that would create an unobstructed Islamist terrorist haven on their own doorsteps. On the same day Zahar made these statements before the Arab leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert effectively killed any idea of a multi-stage West Bank withdrawal, preferring instead a rapid single-stage withdrawal in order to avoid drawn out internal conflict with Jewish settlers.

For the Arab leaders growing frustrated with Hamas’ adamancy, there is indeed a sense of urgency. Pressure on Hamas – in the form of a drying regional financial well - may find it’s way to the Palestinian Authority rather soon. Israel has given Hamas until the end of the year. Arab leaders may not wait until the last minute to act in their own best interest.

With in-fighting between Hamas and Fatah now including Fatah-dominated police’s violent protest over Hamas’ lack of salary payment, the financial burden on Hamas is becoming exacerbated and with bloody consequences internally.

Perhaps it may become become increasingly difficult for sympathetic Arab leaders to remain quiet while, ironically, their public support for Hamas privately wanes just as the West’s public financial cut-off of the elected terrorist group semi-privately seeks ways to actually fund them. O, what a tangled web we weave.