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Robert Fisk breaks the extraordinary inside story about the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Key quote:
The secret story of Palestinian unity is now revealed. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s reaction to the news – having originally refused to negotiate with Palestinians because they were divided – was to say that he would not talk to Abbas if Hamas came into the Palestinian government. President Obama virtually dismissed the Palestinian unity initiative. But 1967 borders means that Hamas is accepting Israel and the ‘resistance’ initiative means an end to Gaza rockets on Israel. International law and UN resolutions mean peace can be completed and a Palestinian state brought into being. That, at least, is the opinion of both Palestinian sides. The world will wait to see if Israel will reject it all again.
The deal exposes the incredible hypocrisy displayed by the US and Israel when it comes to their policy towards the Palestinians. Every time a bar is set and the Palestinians reach it, the US and Israel simply re-set it even higher, making peace a distant dream. To not deal with democratically elected Hamas on the basis that it is a terrorist organization automatically predetermines the outcome for negotiaton. There can be no deal without Hamas, and if Israel is serious about peace, they will come to the table and talk to them. Odds are they won't and Netanyahu will find a way to blame the Palestinians again.
International opinion is not Israel's side though and the tide is slowly turning in America. Israel cannot afford such isolation and must bring its policies inline with the rest of the world. If not, it's very survival is at stake and it will have no one left to blame but itself.