When Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with President Trump at the White House press conference on February 15, he spoke about the inadmissibility of forcing Israel to live alongside a terrorist state of Palestine as the result of a global effort to establish a Palestinian state.
Ignored by people advocating a two-state solution is the clear and present danger of Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and the terror face of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
It is an inconvenient truth for international diplomats pressuring Israel to withdraw from the West Bank that Hamas has a growing presence there.
Evidence of that has been seen at Bir Zeit University where Hamas-affiliated students overwhelmingly won the student body election in February 2017.
Bir Zeit happens to be not in Gaza but just eight kilometers north of the once stronghold of Fatah in Ramallah where the Palestinian Authority holds tentative sway.
The Palestinian Authority is busy arresting Hamas members and the Israeli security forces are constantly intercepting Hamas terror cells and arresting their budding terrorists in the West Bank. Recently among those arrested have been students of Bir Zeit University.
A much-discussed issue in Israeli national security and strategic think-tanks is what happens when, by the ballot or by the bullet, Hamas usurps power in a future Palestinian state.
Israel demands that any Palestinian state must be demilitarized. This request will be as futile as was the Jewish state’s appeal that UN forces keep militant Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon following Israel’s withdrawal in 2000. Today, Hezbollah has an estimated 120,000 missiles ready to launch at Israel. They are stored in homes and underground bunkers along Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah has constructed a network of interconnecting terror tunnels that make Hamas’s tunnel system in Gaza look like a rabbit warrens by comparison.
The same applies to the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Despite the destruction inflicted on them in their 2014 war against Israel, Hamas has replenished much of their armory and missiles, trained a new army of radical terrorists and are feverishly constructing new stronger terror tunnels with cement provided to them from Israel.
Hamas recently elected one of the most extreme radical terrorists in the Gaza Strip to replace outgoing Ismail Haniyeh.
If you thought the old face of Hamas was bad. The new one is even worse.
55-year-old unrepentant terrorist, Yahya Sinwar, served 22 years in an Israeli prison on serious terrorism charges. He was released as part of a massive prisoner release by Israel for the return of imprisoned Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Among Sinwar’s offences was the murder of Israeli civilians and the killing of Palestinians who he calls “collaborators.” He ordered the killing of a senior Hamas commander without trial because he perceived him to be a potential rival and “traitor.”
He comes to political power from the military wing of Hamas. The Izz a-Din al-Kassam terror group is linked to the extreme Islamic Salafist movement. He is close to Muhamad Deif, the chief of Hamas operations in Gaza considered to be the Chief of Staff of the Hamas terror army.
It is the radical terrorist arm of Hamas that controls the GazaStrip. Sinwar opposes any compromise with Israel.
This arch-terrorist in Gaza is matched by similar hard line Fatah candidates in Ramallah.
An unfortunate feature of the global pressure on Israel has been the unwillingness to address the deep terror promoting agenda of leading members of the Palestinian Authority.
One of the leading candidates to replace Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority is Jibril Rajoub. He is the chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the head of the Palestinian Football Association.
These are not benign activities for Rajoub. He exploits sport as a political football to try and expel Israel from FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, by bringing allegations against Israel to FIFA forums. Behind his diplomatic posturing lies the real face of Rajoub who promotes and glorifies terror through Palestinian sports activities. He inculcates the Arab youth to revere terrorist murderers as heroes to be emulated.
One example is Muhannad Halabi who stabbed a father to death in Jerusalem in October 2015. He also stabbed the dead man’s wife and mother of a two year old child who was also injured in the attack. Halabi killed an Israeli rabbi who tried to help the family, before he was shot and killed by an Israeli policeman.
One month after this attack Jibril Rajoub, in his capacity as chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, named a table tennis tournament in honor of this terrorist murderer. Rajoub has little wriggle room to escape his culpability in this crime. The tournament was promoted under his patronage.
After Halabi’s murderous attack against an Israeli family Rajoub appeared on official Palestinian TV encouraging and glorifying his deadly act saying, “I say whoever carries out acts of heroism we in the Fatah movement bless and encourage them. We consider them heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian beginning with our brother, Muhannad Halabi.”
Rajoub regularly uses his official sporting titles to patronize sporting venues and events that honor deadly Palestinian terrorists.
The warning of collaboration with Hamas should Jibril Rajoub be elected as leader of the Palestinian Authority has been clear in his many statements. Following the capture of Gilad Shalit by Hamas, Rajoub said, “If Hamas wants to kidnap Israeli soldiers let them. When they kidnapped Shalit we congratulated them.”
Regarding using his overarching position in sport for normalization with Israel in advance of peace Rajoub said live on official PA television, “Under no circumstances will there be normalization. We will bring the Executive Committee in helicopters so they will see no Jews, no Satan, no Zionist sons of bitches!”
This is the leading candidate to head the Palestinian Authority and potentially a new State of Palestine.
Another popular candidate is Marwan Barghouti who is serving five life sentences for murdering Israelis. While in prison he has been calling for further terror attacks against the Jewish state. Yet, he is considered a folk hero to Palestinians. In the December 2016 Fatah elections, Barghouti garnered more votes than any other candidate.
The two headed pincer (Ramallah and Gaza) of a terror-loving Palestine will not become a friendly nut cracker given statehood. They will continue their stated ambition to annihilate Israel in stages.
As for the current president, Mahmoud Abbas, in late 2015 when referring to Palestinian terror attacks against Jews in Jerusalem, he said in the most lethal Islamic terms, “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem, blood spilled for Allah. Every martyr will reach Paradise, and every wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”
He stated that he would not allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount by saying, “They have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”
This is the real face of a man the world suggests is Israel’s moderate peace-partner.
Anyone who thinks that this type of Palestine will bring peace and harmony is delusional.
This is the new face of Hamas. This is the hidden face of the Palestinian Authority. This is the future face of Palestine.
Anyone hiding these deadly truths is being deliberately deceptive.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ and the new best-selling book‘1917 From Palestine to the Land of Israel.’