After seven years of formal separation, the Palestinian parties of Fatah and Hamas have agreed to come together and form a unity government. Since the U.S. and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group instead of a political party, they both vehemently oppose the agreement.
“It is hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that doesn’t believe in its right to exist,” asserted State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
It shouldn’t be news to Psaki that the negotiations already fell apart because of Israel (according to John Kerry). So the agreement does not have an appreciable effect on peace talks. But more importantly, Psaki’s inability to see the inherent hypocrisy in her statement is almost shocking.
The US spokesperson said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a party that does not believe it has a right to exist. The hypocrisy and irony is thick. Israel doesn’t recognize the right of Palestine to exist. As for the demand that Hamas renounce violence, likewise, Israel has not renounced violent aggression toward the Palestinians, something it and its settler surrogates engage in daily. The fact is that parties to negotiations are often engaged in violence against one another (hence the negotiations) and often don’t recognize each other’s legitimacy at the start.
Palestinians must recognize Israel’s right to exist, but Israel can, through its words and its actions, deny Palestine’s right to exist. Palestinians must renounce all violence in order to have legitimacy in peace talks, whereas Israel is not only exempt from this obligation but can use violence as a matter of routine. Indeed, “After the agreement was announced,” reports the Guardian, Israel “launched an air strike on a site in the north of the Gaza Strip, wounding 12 people including children.” The message apparently is that Palestinians better not come to political agreements that Israel opposes, or else Israel will drop bombs on their children.