24 March 2012

Egypt's Brotherhood and the New Palestinian Approach

As my tiny but loyal readership knows, I have been claiming that some of the changes that have taken place in the Middle East in the last year or so included steps and measures to prepare the ground for a historic Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The most recent cobblestone in that peculiar road was a dramatic power struggle within Hamas and an unexpected realignment with Fatah.

Today a big chunk of that long and winding road was paved in one fell swoop:
Officials of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant Islamist movement, are pressing its militant Palestinian offshoot, Hamas, which controls Gaza, to make new compromises with Fatah, the Western-backed Palestinian leadership that has committed to peace with Israel and runs the West Bank. (...)
Brotherhood officials say that they are pulling back from their previous embrace of Hamas and its commitment to armed struggle against Israel in order to open new channels of communications with Fatah, which the Brotherhood had previously denounced for collaborating with Israel and accused of selling out the Palestinian cause. Brotherhood leaders argue that if they persuade the Palestinians to work together with a newly assertive Egypt, they will have far more success forcing Israel to bargain in earnest over the terms of statehood. 
In case there is any doubt about which faction within Hamas they are supporting:
The Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie — effectively its chairman — had personally told Hamas’s top political leader, Khaled Meshaal, to be “more flexible,” Mr. Fahmy said, and at recent talks in Doha, Qatar, Hamas had agreed for the first time to let Fatah’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, preside over the first six months of a unity government for the Palestinian territories until new elections could be held. 
In other words, it looks like the Muslim Brotherhood pressured Meshaal to accept Mahmoud Abbas and his stance of peaceful coexistence with Israel. They also told them that they will put a lot of pressure on Israel to come to the negotiating table in earnest once the transition in Egypt is a done deal.

That means Haniyah who is backed by Iran is effectively out and Meshaal and his newly realigned perspective is in. Because without the Brotherhood Hamas could not survive in Gaza. This is a very important development.

What is interesting is that, last year, no one was expecting the Brotherhood to be this savvy and to act with this much forethought. And to push for a comprehensive regional peace with such enthusiasm and vigor.

Well, no one, other than some contrarians, that is.

No comments:

Post a Comment