Monday, January 17, 2005

Abbas must take control or fail as a leader Jan. 17, 2005

Abbas must take control or fail as a leader
Exclusive to Worldnet Daily … Jan. 17, 2005
By Ray Hanania

The recent attack by Palestinian militants killing six Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip was as much an attack against Israel as it was against the authority of newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The attack achieved its first goal, to provoke the extremist government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to severe ties with Abbas, thereby allowing increased tensions to fuel even more conflict.

Although the Palestine Liberation Organization which is the revolutionary body that Abbas now heads denounced the attacks and called on all militants to halt attacks, the proclamation is not enough.

Hamas and its extremist leaders have proven time and time again that they will defy all Palestinian authority, including one elected by the people themselves, and use violence, including the most immoral acts of suicide bombings and assassination to undermine any effort to compromise with Israel.

Abbas is at a junction that Arafat stood at for many years, unconvinced that the time was right to make a full crossing to compromise because of the failure of Israel to make fair and just compromises.

But Abbas is not Arafat. The situation has changed. And rather than wait for Israel to come around, Abbas must take the steps he needs to validate himself as a leader.

Either Abbas decides the policies of the Palestinians toward Israel, or he steps aside for the tyrants of Hamas who exploit the Palestinian people’s suffering to impose unilateral actions of violence that cause more suffering.

In addition to declaring opposition to violence and future attacks against Israel or anyone, Abbas also must move quickly to arrest and detain the leaders of Hamas.

These individuals are acting outside of the rule of law, and are therefore criminals. The cause they embrace is not criminal, but their embrace of the cause is a desecration of all that the Palestinians have stood for.

If compromise is the mandate of the Palestinians in order to achieve a viable and independent Palestinian State that is based on an agreement that is fair and just, Abbas must have the power to act.

Despite Arafat’s leadership, and his willingness to compromise for the sake of preserving the Palestinians as a people and achieving a viable state., he was constantly undermined by Hamas.

Every single Hamas attack and suicide bombing was intended to undermine the peace process as much as it was to retaliate against Israeli aggression and even acts of state and settler movement terrorism.

Abbas cannot allow that pattern to continue.

Rather than watch as the hopes for peace die, Abbas must swiftly move against Hamas and destroy the organization once and for all. He has the mandate to do it, Hamas has no mandate.

Abbas put his policies before the people and everyone voting for him did so as partners in a peace process.

Hamas has no viable constuency except that constituency that is fueled by continued suffering and increasing emotions. Remove the suffering and the motions and Hamas is weakened even more.

Once his power is stabilized, then Abbas can turn toward the intransigence of the Sharon government and Israel’s refusal to make the concessions necessary to make peace work.

But until he takes control of his own people, the individual agents of extremism will continue to control him.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning nationally syndicated Palestinian American columnist. He served as national president of the Palestinian American Congress and is currently managing editor of


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