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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

UN set stage for war in Palestine Territories

The united Nations, with its ill-conceived Nov. 29 decision to grant the Palestinians the status of non-member observer state, has probably set the stage for all-out war between the Hamas/Fatah-led Palestinians and Israel.

It certainly seems—based on celebrations in Gaza and the West Bank—that the Palestinian leadership believes it has earned the UN’s approval as an independent entity with the right to access the International Criminal Court.

Moreover, Palestinian expectations seem high enough to encourage the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, to visit Gaza for the first time ever to preach his hatred and contempt for Israel, telling university students on Sunday:

God willing, we shall liberate Palestine together, inch by inch. We started this path and we are going to continue until we achieve what God has promised.”

At an earlier rally, the Hamas leader promised to liberate the entire land of Palestine, and said, “We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation.”

Strong words indeed from a man who, less than a month ago, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Cairo  he was “ready to resort to a peaceful way, truly peaceful way, without blood and weapon.” He also said Hamas had accepted a two-state solution based on the borders of 1967.

Flushed with self-declared victory in their recent conflict with Israel, Khaled Meshaal’s Gaza-based terrorist organization seems to be positioning itself to capitalize on its popularity with the Palestinian public and become the senior partner in a renewed working relationship with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah political party that governs the West Bank.

Should reconciliation occur between Hamas and Fatah, it would end the uneasy alliance between Abbas and Israel, which exists only because both sides are united in their opposition to Hamas. And, should Hamas gain the upper hand in any new partnership with Fatah and become the central player in Palestinian politics, forget about a peace agreement with Israel any time soon.

I just don’t see a current Israeli leader negotiating with Hamas, an organization whose leaders time and again kill Israeli civilians while repeatedly stating their refusal to recognize the Jewish state.

With no prospect for a peaceful solution and with Hamas calling the shots for the Palestinians, the situation on the ground will likely deteriorate, leading inevitably to a Third Intifada, this one almost certainly more terrible than the last.

As one of Israel’s staunchest allies, Canada’s resolve to stand by the Jewish state will be severely tested should my prediction prove accurate. Hopefully, PM Stephen Harper will be up to the test.

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