Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Palestinian Unity Government

The United States’ exclusionist policy towards the Palestinian government since March 2006 failed to produce the administration’s goal of pushing the Hamas-led government out of power. Exactly one year after that government was sworn in, Hamas remains in power as a member of a unity government. U.S. foreign policy, as embodied in the Quartet’s three conditions-recognition of Israel, renouncing violence and accepting previous agreements-exacerbated economic and political instability and a security breakdown in the Palestinian territory that threatened U.S.-relations in the Middle East and the interests of its longtime allies in the region-Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

U.S. officials justified the policy by stating that the administration would not deal with a government led by a group that did not respect and abide by the three conditions of the U.S.-backed Quartet. If this is the case, the new Palestinian government provides the U.S. with an opportunity to launch a real diplomatic effort on the Israeli-Palestinian front.

If looked at objectively, the administration will find that the eight-level platform of the new Palestinian government concurs with many of the principles that guide domestic and foreign U.S. policy, including its ill-fated three conditions.

On the political level, the Palestinian government states that it will “achieve national objectives through the resolutions of the PNC, the Articles of the Basic Law, and the resolutions of the Arab Summits, and shall respect the international resolutions and agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).” To an objective reader, this indicates that Hamas, as part of a coalition government, has accepted and recognized Israel’s existence. In its 19th session in 1988, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) called for a two-state solution. Palestine would be established on the territory occupied by Israel in 1967-the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital. By accepting to abide by the resolutions of the Arab League summits, the government and, by extension, Hamas has accepted the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative which was adopted by the Arab League. The initiative offers Israel a peace deal that includes recognition of the Jewish state’s right to exist and secures its borders. Furthermore, it states that it will work with the agreements signed by the PLO-the third condition of the U.S.-backed Quartet-and with the international community to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

On the level of occupation, the Palestinian government recognizes the right of Palestinians to “defend themselves against Israeli aggression.” Yet despite this natural right, the government will work on “consolidating calm and expanding it to a comprehensive reciprocal truce.” The U.S. should acknowledge that every government should recognize its people’s right to self-defense and should work to guarantee that both sides commit to a truce. Past experience has shown that unless a truce is reciprocal, violence is sure to continue.

On the legal level, the Palestinian government promises to fulfill a long-standing U.S. desire, the empowerment of the judicial branch and the implementation of the Basic Law, which calls for the separation of the three branches of power.

On the economic level, the U.S. should be ready to engage the new government, which promises to respect the principles of a free economy, to protect the private sector and encourage investments-all treasured principles of the U.S. economy and legislation.

On the level of reform, the Palestinian government outlines its commitment to fight corruption and to reinforce the values of integrity and transparency, which are U.S. demands as well as long-held Palestinian demands.

On the international level, the Palestinian government says it will forge “sound and solid relations with various world countries and international institutions.” Such a move should indicate to the U.S. that Hamas, as part of a coalition government, wants to find its place within the international community and not, as previously argued by some U.S. officials, prefers to remain at odds with the majority of nations.

U.S. foreign policy toward the new Palestinian government should be based on the same realization that forced the Palestinians into a unity government. Neither Hamas nor Fateh alone in power can deliver on Palestinian and international demands for reform and a peace agreement. Without Hamas’ approval, Fateh cannot present the Palestinian people with a final peace accord or guarantee that an “end to conflict” deal can be sustained. And without Fateh, Hamas will not have the financial backing to implement its program of domestic change and reform. Only a unity government can enforce law and order and guarantee that the truce achieved in Gaza be extend to the West Bank.

A U.S. foreign policy, which seizes the current opportunity presented in the form of a unity government, will be one that serves U.S. national interests in the Middle East as well as those of its allies.

SAMER ASSAD is the Executive Director of The Palestine Center.

 

 

More articles by:
October 17, 2018
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail