Israeli, Palestinian hardliners pledge doom for peace process

Attacks by Hamas’ armed wing will continue “in any form and in any place,” including inside Israel, a spokesman said Sept. 2. The organization’s al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for killing four settlers in a drive-by shooting at the Beit Hagai settlement near Hebron two nights before, and for injuring two Israelis in a similar attack at Romodin Junction near Ramallah the following day. Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida said the second attack was “a slap in the face” for those who said the deadly shooting near Hebron would not be repeated.

The shootings were condemned by Palestinian Authority officials, while several Israeli leaders, including President Shimon Peres, said the country must continue negotiations with “those who denounce terror.”

Following the Beit Hagai shooting, Palestinian Authority security forces launched an arrest campaign in Hebron. At a press conference in Gaza on Sept. 2, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri accused the PA of arresting 550 of the Islamist movement’s affiliates. At the same press conference, Hamas leader Fawzi Barhoum said the success of the two attacks demonstrated that “any gambling on eliminating resistance will lose.”

The attack in Ramallah came as US President Barack Obama welcomed President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, DC, a day ahead of the first session of direct peace negotiations in 20 months. Speaking after the Hebron attack, Obama said the “senseless slaughter” would not derail peace talks.

Responding to Obama’s message, Abu Obeida said “Al-Qassam does not gamble on the stances of the United States.”

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, meanwhile said that Hamas will block any agreement in the peace talks. Writing in the Shas newsletter, Yishai predicted that if Israel makes “painful sacrifices” to reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other terrorist groups will resume attacks, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“We must stand up for our principles and never give up on them: Stop terror, recognize Israel as a Jewish state, stop provoking violence, and start negotiations without conditions. Certainly not the condition of a building freeze,” he said. Shas has opposed any freeze in construction in settlements on the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency, Jerusalem Post, UPI, Sept. 2)

See our last posts on Israel and Palestine.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.

  1. Palestinian state within a year?
    From Ha’aretz, Sept. 24:

    NEW YORK – U.S. President Barack Obama urged Israel yesterday to extend its construction freeze in the West Bank settlements and expressed hopes that there would be a new member of the United Nations next year – an independent state of Palestine.

    Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly drew fire from right-wing Knesset members, who called it unacceptable intervention in a decision by the Israeli government.

    “The conflict between Israelis and Arabs is as old as this institution,” Obama told the General Assembly. “And we can come back here next year, as we have for the last 60 years, and make long speeches about it. We can read familiar lists of grievances. We can table the same resolutions. We can further empower the forces of rejectionism and hate. And we can waste more time by carrying forward an argument that will not help a single Israeli or Palestinian child achieve a better life. We can do that.

    “Or, we can say that this time will be different – that this time we will not let terror, or turbulence, or posturing, or petty politics stand in the way. This time, we will think not of ourselves, but of the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams, or the young boy in Sderot who wants to sleep without the nightmare of rocket fire.”

    Obama told the General Assembly: “Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine – one that allows the Palestinian people to live with dignity and opportunity. And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means – including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel.”


    Back in Israel, MKs Zeev Elkin (Likud ) and Aryeh Eldad (National Union ) said Obama’s call was “unacceptable and an attempt to force a change in [an Israeli] decision. The Americans have to respect the democratic decision of the Israeli people who voted to strengthen settlements in Judea and Samaria and against concessions and withdrawals. The vast majority of MKs reject American pressure and support renewed construction throughout Judea and Samaria.”