Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz on Monday quoted a Hamas source describing the terrorist organization’s vision going forward under a possible unity government:
A Hamas source has said the model being planned for the new Palestinian unity government is that of Hezbollah in Lebanon, in which the organization is a government party that has shed responsibility for routine matters but maintains an independent military. “If anyone expects Hamas to hand over its missile network to the PA, he’s making a big mistake,” the Hamas source said. “Hamas wants to avoid ministerial responsibility for civilian matters, but it wants to maintain its power as a popular-resistance group.”
Analysts had already begun explicitly sketching out how Hamas’s ongoing intransigence – the group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has been unequivocal that the organization will continue to seek Israel’s destruction – risked a number of dynamics either putting an envisioned unity government on a collision course with black letter American law, or setting up a future Palestinian entity for instability, or both. Permitting Hamas to maintain the equivalent of a heavily armed state-within-a-state – mirroring the situation that Hezbollah has established in Lebanon – would enable the organization to block the consolidation of political power under a central Palestinian government, while still leaving Ramallah both politically and legally responsible for any Hamas provocations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already emphasized that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would be held responsible for Hamas rocket attacks in the aftermath of a unity agreement.
“We hope that this pact is dissolved and we can find a way to return to genuine negotiations with a genuine peace,” he said. “Hamas is committed to our destruction,” he said. “We remain committed to advancing the peace, preferably a negotiated peace. But we can only negotiate with a government whose constituent parts are committed to peace.”
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