Why a trip is not just a trip via King of Jordan Visits the Palestinian West Bank – NYTimes.com.
If the Palestinians wish to establish their own state, then there must be reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO. The political rivalry between these two parties damages Palestinian morale and makes the international community skeptical. If a two-state solution occurs, the Palestinian Authority will be responsible for developing infrastructure and providing public services. It will be virtually impossible for the Palestinian government to fulfill these responsibilities if Hamas and the PLO do not reconcile. Reconciliation will also create a stronger Palestinian political voice, which is one reason America and Israel have opposed any kind of comprise between the two parties. It is important that King Abdullah is involved in this reconciliation because it sends a clear message that Mr. Abbas is the central political figure in Palestinian and it further legitimizes the Palestinian Authority.
The greatest road block to reconciliation will be if Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, which it has done up to this point. If reconciliation occurs without this recognition, then the United States will most likely reduce foreign aid to Palestinian. Unfortunately this reduction will only move Israel and Palestine farther from peace. Thus, the Palestinian Authority has been backed into a corner; they must choose between uniting the Palestinian territories or sustaining relations with Israel in order to restart peace negotiations.
As much as I would like to see reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, I’m not convinced that it will happen. The PNA is trying for peace—though on their own terms and without much compromise—but Hamas refuses to even discuss peace with Israel. Their goal is to retake all of Israel under the Palestinian flag and that platform does not coincide with the goals of the PNA. I am interested to see what comes of these talks because if Jordan and the PNA endorse many or any of the Hamas policies in a push to compromise, they run the risk of losing the support of the West who views Hamas as a terrorist organization. King Abdullah II has always been considered a moderate in the Middle East and relatively close to the US and I am interested to see how that relationship develops if there is a compromise and reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
Further reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/world/middleeast/hamas-gains-momentum-in-palestinian-rivalry.html?scp=2&sq=hamas&st=cse
King Abdullah is one of my favorite Arab leaders. It was a great move visiting the West Bank after a couple of years. This was a great move to show their support and recognition of the Palestine State, especially because during his visit, he renewed his support for the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian national reconciliation. I believe that king Abdullah was very smart in arranging his schedule this month because a week later, after his visit to Palestine, he received the President of Israel in Jordan. It is interesting to note that the visit with the Palestinian leaders was scheduled first and the President of Jordan, himself, wanted to travel to the West Bank. By having this meeting first, and the visit to Israel immediately after, it seems like the President of Jordan is pressing for the acceleration of a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
And, of course, in their discussion he favored the establishment of a Palestinian state and gave some suggestions of what to do in order to maintain peace. King Abdullah is so far doing a good job in maintaining Jordan peace treaties in the Middle East. Jordan is a state that has good relations with the Middle East and also the West. Of course it has its faults, but as the state that has one of the most supported monarchies is the region, I believe it is doing a great job so far.
I think the complexity of the issue of Palestine, partially caused by all of the factions wanting an independent state from Fatah to Hamas and even more right-wing groups, can be seen with all the different perspective that can be taken. I can’t fully agree with statements such as the ones above that state that Hamas “refuses to even discuss peace” or “Their goal is to retake all of Israel.” I think these sort of simplified statemtents are counterproductive to any sort of resolution. Hamas, in the past, has been parts of peace talks that died arguably from Israel’s resistance to halt settlements. Or the word “retake” is a very potent one, in that it makes assumptions that have been debated for decades by Palestinians and Israelis, among others.
I agree with the above comment that it seems the only thing that can be done at this point is wait and see what occurs for Palestine. I’m curious as to how much momentum it has gained since applying for a membership in the UN almost two months ago (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40550&Cr=palestin&Cr1=) and how that has affected leaders’ actions from states such as Jordan. It is always difficult to define a causal relationship between political events.
I have to say, I agree with nhoopes’ comment. It is incredible that Mr. Abbas would see it suitable to start to have meetings with Hamas with their completely charged history, and it seems that one (not positive) explanation could be that he and his party are vying for influence wherever they can. If it brings a more secure peace in the Israeli-Palestinian question, then I’d be all for it, but what would that peace look like?
Fatah and Hamas’ conflict claimed a lot of Palestinian and Israeli lives. This resulted in even a geographical split of Palestinian rule between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Since then, the Gaza Strip has continued to be a source of terror for Israelis along their border. Just this year, rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
The bigger question that this highlights in my mind is how we perceive democracy and freedom. It seems that Mr. Abbas could justify diplomatic relations with Hamas because Palestine is as much theirs as it is the PLA’s, and therefore if the people of Hamas uphold that standard, then under the declarations of democracy they have a right to believe what they will, right? So is freedom and liberty meant to provide individuals with the freedom to do whatever they want, or does it mean to create a society within which every individual is bound in such a way that allows everyone the freedom and liberty to enjoy their God-given rights? It has to be the latter, otherwise the same freedoms one would exercise encroach upon the rights of another. Hamas seems to have little place or willingness to participate in the democratic process of allowing for the preservation of those rights for others. And under their current mantra, they have no place to participate in the organization of a government whose responsibility it is to maintain them for others.
With that, I propose that if Mr. Abbas intends to form a binding agreement between him and the leaders of Hamas, it only happens if Hamas drops from their platform those points that would take the rights of other individuals away. Without that, I would believe that any agreement would be grounds to believe Mr. Abbas is trying to plot for power with terrorist organizations, and therefore moving away from his previous legitimacy as representative of the Palestinians.
This articles talks about the meeting briefly.
Actually, I just read this article, and it is quite interesting. It announces that Hamas would be willing to accept the 1967 borders. A large step back from their previous position on Israel, and perhaps a move that would help to legitimize the PNA as its own governing body. It still doesn’t say much about negotiations with Israel, so I wonder how they will address that.
I agree with miyaheather that oversimplification of the issues is counterproductive. What I find most interesting about this article is the position of King Abdullah II. He is deftly sending many different messages to many different people. I think he will prove to be a key figure in Palestinian reconciliation. With America’s voice in the Middle East diminishing, it is important for there to be voices like Jordan’s calling for a two-state solution through direct negotiation. In general, I think Abdullah is trying to move the region in a progressive direction, as evidenced by his call for Assad to step down in Syria (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/world/middleeast/king-of-jordan-calls-on-syrias-assad-to-quit.html?ref=abdullahii). A moderate voice like his is needed so desperately in Middle East politics, and I think both the Israelis and the Palestinians have a lot to benefit from him.
And the Palestinian statehood movement is stalled. One reason is cited in the article that nhoopes posted, and this is that Hamas is out of Mahmoud Abbas’s control. Thus, Palestinian reconciliation must be achieved before a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem can ever happen. And this is the very reason why Abdullah is talking to Hamas.
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