When the Fatah-Hamas government was formed last month, the international community quickly recognized and welcomed it. Not only the Arab League nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which heaping praise upon this new government, not only Russia and China, but also Western nations which are friendly with Israel, and even the United States, explained that they would recognize and work with the Palestinian unity government. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton even went so far as to say that “Palestinian unity” would advance the chances for peace.
Suddenly, Hamas’ cruel acts of terrorism were forgotten, their never-ending attempts to harm innocent civilians, along with the Hamas Charter, which calls for the total destruction of the state of Israel. In doing so, not only is there a moral and ethical flaw in legitimizing a murderous terrorist organization, as well as its policy calling for the destruction of someone else, but also a double standard. Distinguishing between the various forms of terrorism, between terror committed by Al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamist organizations against western and Muslim targets, or Chechen terrorism against Russian targets, which are not accepted and are not negotiated with, and Hamas terrorism against Israel, which is reconciled with.
In addition, the international community’s principle in dealing with Hamas, as defined by the Quartet, were also erased, as with other red lines which have been recently erased in the struggle between western civilization and terror, violence and genocide. The Quartet’s principles determined that recognition of Hamas would be on the condition of Hamas’ recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism and upholding previous accords and agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. These principles constituted an important diplomatic, strategic and moral position, not only in the war on Hamas terror, but in the war on global terrorism.
Failing to insist on these conditions is a grave strategic mistake that will only provide more support for terrorism. It presents the international community as a flimsy body that doesn’t hold to its principles, and doesn’t have the required necessary to protect itself and its values. This passes along the message that terrorism pays off, which encourages more and more terrorism, as well as the strengthening of more radical positions. Whoever thinks that Chechen, Salafi or Hamas terror can be differentiated will be very quickly proven wrong.
Now, that three Israeli boys, Yeshiva students from Gush Etzion, have been kidnapped, the international community has been given a second chance to correct its moral, diplomatic and strategic mistakes. Wall to wall condemnations of the kidnapping are called for, as well as placing responsibility on the Palestinian government, including the threat of taking physical, economic and diplomatic steps against it. Mainly though, this is an opportunity to stipulate the acceptance the Quartet’s acceptance terms of Hamas as the sole option for recognition and cooperation with a Fatah-Hamas government.
Unfortunately, so far there have been very few condemnations, aside from some weak calls, and we have yet to hear from the UN Secretary General or other first world leaders speaking out in a clear voice. The international community is also keeping silent, and by doing so, not only are the Palestinians receiving a false, lenient message, but Israel also understands again that she has no one to count on but herself, something that will not encourage further compromises on her part in the near future.