By Tony Sayegh
* Blair was given the red-carpet treatment in Ramallah by Abbas.
* The next day, with great fanfare, Abbas and Haniyeh announced agreement on a "national unity" government.
* Two days later (today) Israel announced that 18 Hamas lawmakers will be released on bail.
* Today the puppet Abbas is meeting the boy king of Jordan who praised "Palestinian unity!"
* The EU is hailing the "Palestinian unity government" as a good step to get the "peace process" moving!
* Hamas has announced that it will not be involved in "peace negotiations," but would leave that to Abbas and the PLO (whatever is left of it).
* Informed sources say that Hamas ministers will no longer run the key ministries of finance, foreign relations and interior. Hamas will be given such ministries as health, education (and garbage collection?).
* In a speech today in Brighton, England Blair asked for the removal of the economic blockade against the Palestinians. He said that the announcement of a "national unity" government was what he had been hoping for. Surprise, surprise!
* The impotent Arab regimes are launching a new "peace initiative" at the UN this month.
Something has been cooked and Blair was the messenger; he delivered the instructions. Don't be surprised to hear that the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas will be released soon.
As I said before, I don't like the smell of what has been cooked.
The problem is that Hamas is not helping itself by putting itself in the situation it will be in. Instead of healing and restoring popular support, Hamas will lose support by being seen as defeated without having the courage of its convictions to pull out of this miserable PA arrangement.
It was a mistake in the first place for Hamas to participate in elections under the Oslo roof. That decision reflected naïveté, since Hamas thought that Usrael would respect the democratic choice and not besiege it. Next Hamas bet that it would generate alternate sources of funding and withstand the siege; that failed. Hamas knew all along that Abbas, Fatah and the Arab regimes were conspiring to topple it; yet it continued to deal with Abbas and now will have a government of "national unity" basically controlled by the same Fatah ministers who wanted to topple it. The ministers of finance, foreign affairs and interior will not be from Hamas. These are the key ministries. In addition, the despicable Saeb Arikat will remain as minister in charge of "negotiations." What is left for Hamas? To collect the garbage and sweep the streets? Haniyeh recently showed his skills in this regard.
What will turn a lot of people away from Hamas is the new dependence on obfuscation and doubletalk, instead of being straight talker (as it used to be). What is this nonsense that the new government is not in charge of "negotiations?" It left that to the same corrupt Abbas and his PLO. Who is Hamas kidding? Who needs such government if it is not concerned with the key issue of political settlement and the future of the Palestinians? This is deceitful, and that made me lose respect for Hamas. Now, Hamas is using Arafat-era rhetoric of stressing "national unity" and discouraging any dissent!
It would have been much better if Hamas followed Islamic Jihad and stayed outside this framework of Oslo and the PA. Hamas was more effective as an opposition and a resistance movement. Now, it will be tied with a thousand ropes, cut a thousand cuts and humiliated. People will lose respect for Hamas.
Compare its position towards the puppet Abbas with Nasrallah's position towards Siniora; there is no comparison. It would have been much better if Hamas were as principled.