That’s the headline of this story from The Australian (thanks to JE). It means, of course, that there can be and will be no “peace process” at all.
AT the start of a year in the Holy Land that promises more uncertainty than hope, a once unthinkable scenario is being touted as a solution for lasting peace.
Israeli officials, watching chaos consume the Palestinian Authority as this month’s elections approach, have looked to sworn enemy Hamas as a party some would prefer to do business with.
Twelve months ago, even to consider dealing with Hamas to advance peace with the Palestinians would have been considered treason by many Israelis. But much has changed since then.
The ruling Fatah party that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took over following Yasser Arafat’s death is now more fractious than ever.
The candidate list Fatah intends to take into the January 25 poll is only just holding together, in the face of a revolt from an impatient new guard, who reluctantly agreed to run a unified ticket. Most of the PA’s public servants have suffered through months without pay, anarchy has replaced the rule of law, corruption is still disastrous, and militant groups call the shots.
Mr Abbas has failed to convert the strong mandate he won in January last year to assertive leadership. Given the mess he inherited from Arafat, it may be too soon to condemn him. But anarchy at home has not inspired confidence, on either side, in his ability to negotiate peace with Israel. Into this vortex has stepped Hamas, which Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to recognise as anything other than a terrorist group. Hamas, responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths in the past five years and dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, poses a serious threat to Fatah if the poll – the first general election for 10 years – is held as scheduled.