Letters to the Editor

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The New York Sun

‘Waiting for One to Back Down’

Writing on Mahmoud Abbas’s referendum gambit, Hillel Halkin writes that Abbas is seeking Western backing because he can bring Palestinians to the negotiating table while Hamas is “ideologically unable to accept recognizing Israel” [“Waiting For Someone to Back Down,” Opinion, June 6, 2006].

The only problem with this analysis is that it implies that Mamhoud Abbas and his Fatah Party are significantly different from Hamas, but they are not. Abbas backs the so-called “right of return,” which would flood Israel with hostile Palestinians, he backed Arafat’s rejection of President Clinton’s 2000 peace plan, which would have meant a Palestinian state alongside Israel and never condemns Palestinian terrorism for anything other than its timing (“this is not the time for this kind of attack”) or for public relations reasons (“harms the Palestinian interest”).

Fatah is also as extreme and lethally violent as Hamas. Fatah’s current charter, like that of Hamas, calls for the “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” (Article 12), and says that “Armed struggle [i.e., terrorism] is a strategy and not a tactic” (Article 19). Between September 2000 and December 2005, Fatah terrorists killed 405 Israelis, as against 442 killed by Hamas in the same period.

The tendency to see Abbas as the antidote to Hamas will only allow Fatah to advance its agenda for Israel’s elimination by shrewder means and should be decisively rejected by the Bush administration.

Board of Directors
Zionist Organization of America

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