Is it time to play politics with Hamas? – Middle East Monitor

The phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh comes amid clashes in Jerusalem. This also happened in the context of multiple international contacts with the movement, seeking to contain the escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories, in particular at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, following Israeli attempts to storm it. during Passover (Pesach), a major Jewish holiday.

Russian contacts with Hamas have continued for many years and at different levels, with the movement’s leaders having already visited Moscow several times and having met with Russian officials. However, this time Lavrov’s call can be placed in a different context – a context of deteriorating Russian-Israeli relations.

It seems that the tension between Moscow and Tel Aviv has reflected positively on Russia’s relations with the Palestinian side, since, a few days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA ) Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his support for the Palestinians. Whatever the content of the call, timing is most important.

Admittedly, the Russians have handled the Palestinian issue more rationally and realistically than their European and American counterparts. For several decades, the United States and Europe have pursued a futile policy in the face of this complex issue based on the isolation of influential Palestinian forces on the ground. They tried to subdue and domesticate them, forcing them to abandon the demands and dreams of their people, as they did with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and then the PA. They identified these forces with the Israeli occupation, turning them into yet another tool of repression against the Palestinian people in the hands of the Israeli occupation, leaving them with virtually no Palestinian side to negotiate with.

READ: AP condemns U.S. removal of Kahane group from terrorism list

The United States and Europe are still playing the same security game with Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian resistance organizations, including the political wing, by placing them on terrorist lists, criminalizing communication with them and by cutting off the political and diplomatic lines of communication. At the same time, “Western” governments submitted to a reality imposed by Hamas with blood and fire and found no escape to reach out through the back door, thinking that by not having no direct contact with Hamas, they would delegitimize it. However, they forget that this movement gained its legitimacy through the Palestinian people, not through foreign recognition.

Hamas does not just fire rockets. He effectively managed the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, despite Israel’s 16-year siege and four wars. This includes government offices, schools, universities, health services, media, places of worship, police, coast guard, courts, banks and leisure facilities. He has a good command of the land and people and is successful in enforcing law and order in his territories. He has demonstrated a high level of professionalism in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy. Politically, it enjoys warm relations with most Palestinian factions and has relatively good relations with most Arab countries, especially Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

Therefore, whenever things are about to get out of hand and the whole region is on the brink of instability, Europe and the United States take the initiative to communicate with Hamas through mediators. to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, they can’t muster the courage to say “enough” about this futile security policy that has produced only tragedies for all. The time has come for a new policy, more effective and realistic, based on the recognition of the other, even if he is an enemy, and on the refusal to ignore the facts on the ground.

READ: Fatah pays election price for PA mistakes, official says

The recent report by the International Crisis Group represents a serious attempt in this direction in that it calls on Western countries to abandon the Quartet conditions, which include the requirement for Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence and to accept all the agreements concluded by the PLO and the PA with Israel. This would at least allow the movement to participate in a Palestinian national unity government and opt for a realistic policy that embraces greater involvement of international powers in the conflict. It would also allow for a more reasonable stance in dealing with the Palestinian issue and in the face of the Israeli government’s illegal measures that seek to buy time to change the status quo and make the two-state solution impossible. They should press for a long-term armistice in the Gaza Strip, restore the legal status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, stop eviction orders and home demolitions in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and stop the expansion settlements.

Unless the main players stop the game of denial and accept, in practice, not just in words, that there is in fact a Palestinian people who deserve to decide their own future and to have their own independent state on the soil of his ancestors, the conflict will continue to increase in frequency and magnitude, until it destabilizes and burns places far away from Palestine.

Finding solutions that will ultimately lead to breaking the cycle of violence instead of waiting for the region to explode at every turn.

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Comments are closed.