Peace Between Israel and Palestine Halted by Hamas

Hamas is a radical Palestinian organization that is known throughout the world for carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks, primarily against Israeli civilians.
Recently, Hamas won the Palestinian election. Hamas’ entry into parliament not only shocked the world, but has disturbed the already fragile Israeli-Palestinian talks. Members of Hamas repeatedly rejected calls for renewed talks with Israel as they made history by taking their seats in the new Palestinian parliament.
On March 6, Hamas lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to strip Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of some of his presidential powers—the expanded powers that he had been granted by the legislature before Hamas took control of it.
These events suggest that Abbas, the Fatah leader and president, will either have to work with the Hamas-led cabinet or will resign. Although the United States has encouraged Israel to continue talks for peace with Abbas in an attempt to bolster his power, these events are very unlikely.
The Palestinian Authority president has been rendered irrelevant by the Hamas. It is both fanciful and ridiculous to assume that Israel could now continue dealing with Abbas because he no longer maintains any power and is completely at the mercy of the fanatic government. Abbas, already wildly unpopular, has been repeatedly ridiculed and disregarded by Hamas because of the fact that he encourages dealing with Israel peacefully.
The Israeli government recognizes the current situation as impossible. ‘We don’t want a situation where Abbas becomes a fig leaf, the smiling face of a terrorist government,’ said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev on Monday. This statement is accurate because the real political power is being transferred to Hamas which fails to renounce terrorism.
In fact, it is Hamas that often creates terrorism and praises insurgency. Hamas, along with the Islamic Jihad movement, has prompted and been responsible for much of the violence throughout the years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Hamas has conducted many attacks on Israel, mainly through its military wings, including suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
Ever since Hamas won a majority of parliamentary seats in elections a few short months ago, Hamas officials have made it clear that they have no intention of recognizing or dealing with Israel. Hamas does not acknowledge the presence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.
It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that Israel has been considering sanctions against the Palestinian Authority. Israel has also considered freezing the transfer of about $55 million in taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority each month. However, Israel promised that it would continue to let humanitarian shipments enter the coastal area.
More recently Russia greeted the leaders of the militant Hamas with a critical warning that the organization must recognize Israel and dismantle its militias or face isolation. Not surprisingly, Hamas has shown little interest in moderating its position. With Hamas about to present a new Palestinian government, recommencement of stalled peace negotiations appear unlikely and too difficult.
It is difficult to remain optimistic in light of the recent events considering the type of government instituted among the Palestinian people. Hamas has failed to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and abide by previous agreements made, proving itself to be nothing but an unreformed, terrorist government.

Reut R. Cohen is a second-year English major. She can be reached at rabudi@uci.edu.