Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
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:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail