Hamas Moves Closer to Accepting Two-State Solution on American Terms

As the US Secretary of State was visiting the region, the head of Hamas’s politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, told Aljazeera on Wednesday 26 May 2021, that the resistance had “dealt the Deal of the Century a heavy blow, restored the Palestinian issue to the forefront and introduced Al-Quds to the rules of engagement”, adding, “the occupation should catch this message with regard to Al-Quds and the holy sites” (Al Jazeera 26/05/2021).

Commenting on the international standpoints, Ismail Haniyeh said “we appreciate this relative change in the standpoints of Europe and the US, and we welcome the change and the redress of the standpoint which we believe was wrong in the past”  (ibid). It is known that the previous standpoint was that of Donald Trump, and the standpoints he said he appreciated and welcomed are pertinent to the “two-state solution”, the only solution expressed by those countries. He further stated: “We would deal positively with any positive change towards the issue and the resistance groups…. If we are concretely offered some projects leading us eventually to ending the occupation, ending the settlements, having Al-Quds as a capital, securing the right to return, liberating the prisoners from the occupation’s jails, we as Palestinians would deal with this positively and frankly” (ibid)

The Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, was more explicit when he said during his press briefing on the same day that “if the world succeeded in exerting pressure on the occupation to withdraw from the West Bank, dismantle the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, withdraw from East Al-Quds, release the prisoners, and end the blockage on Gaza, and if we were allowed to hold our elections in Al-Quds, and establish our Palestinian state over a part of our land, there would surely be a possibility to achieve through this a relatively long-term truce, which will defer the struggle and generate stability in the region.” He further added that “Hamas’s political doctrine was “to remove ‘Israel’ through Jihad and armed struggle; but for the sake of a unified Palestinian position and Palestinian commonalities, and because of the current international will, we said we were ready to proceed with this choice…. today, the international powers have a chance to interpret the upshots of this battle into a political achievement” (Hamas website 21/05/2021).

These statements that the leaders of the resistance have repeatedly issued reflect precisely what the US has been seeking to discharge the issue of Palestine on this basis. This was expressed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken who stated that, “President Biden’s focus on relentless, determined, but quiet diplomacy is what got us to where we needed to be, which is to get the violence ended as quickly as possible, to stop more human suffering, and to at least put ourselves in position to make a turn, to make a pivot to building something more positive” (US State Dept 23/05/2021).  Blinken also stressed that the two-state solution was what Biden endeavoured to achieve and that it was the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, and of course, the only way to give the Palestinians the state to which they’re entitled.” He added: “We have to start putting in place the conditions that would allow both sides to engage in a meaningful and positive way toward two states. If there isn’t positive change, and particularly if we can’t find a way for – to help Palestinians live with more dignity and with more hope, the cycle’s likely to repeat itself, and that is in no one’s interest” (ibid).

In light of this alignment between the standpoints of the resistance leaders and the stance of the US administration, it would be imperative to note that although truces and temporary treaties have been put forward as compliant under Islamic law, this merely shrouds an intention to embrace the Palestinian Authority and the peace process under the guise of legitimacy or a “long-term truce”, thereby manoeuvring  to accept the two-state solution by a unified Palestine position and the international will, and separating Hamas’s political doctrine from its conduct and the requirements of the situation.  The proposed solution represents the final settlement which will only be concluded within the framework of recognising the right of Israel to exist and move away from its fixed position and therefore can only only be concluded if 78% of the Palestinian territory is relinquished, relinquished, Jerusalem divided and the holy sites placed under international administration. This is the very solution proposed by the Palestinian Authority, America, Arab states, and international community.

The critical part of this shift by Hamas is the “long-term truce”,  on the basis of which is attempting to justify their acceptance of the two-state solution. Therefore, Mahmoud Abbas, was unequivocal, during his meeting with US Secretary of State, in requesting that the resistance endorse the previous agreements. He said: “We are committed to peaceful popular resistance and we denounce violence and terrorism. We only wish to achieve a political solution through peaceful means between us and Israel”(Times of Israel 21/02/2021), adding that the Palestinian Authority wanted “to establish a government of national unity, provided Hamas and all other stakeholders adhered to all the legitimate international resolutions and agreements known to everyone ” (ibid),  in addition to the previous demands such as disarming the resistance or placing its cadres under the disposal of the Palestinian Authority, unifying the decision of war and peace under the umbrella of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. These were the prerequisites stipulated by Abbas to achieve national reconciliation, which would, in turn, lead to the unity of the Authority, standpoints, and decisions.

Copyright © LCIR 2021

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