Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Teves 5766 - January 4, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Israel Sees Palestinian Parliament Elections as an Important Junction

by Aryeh Zissman

Government and IDF officials are following the PA election process in suspense and realizing it could have a major impact on the entire region. Some observers say these elections are even more significant than the elections in Israel. According to all of the forecasts Hamas will have a major presence in the PA parliament after the elections. Israel does not yet know how to approach this development.

In recent weeks real indecisiveness has stood out prominently in Israel. Should the government help Fatah and Abu Mazen postpone the elections until they manage to rehabilitate their status or should it avoid getting involved? The dispute has yet to be settled.

IDF intelligence is unsure of its assessment of the Hamas' power within the Palestinian public and experts cannot say whether the Hamas will take part in Palestinian leadership after fortifying its power in the elections.

Nor does Israel know what to do if the Hamas merges with Palestinian government institutions. In such a case should Israel conduct negotiations, violating its policy of not negotiating with terrorist organizations as long as they do not recognize Israel? At this stage many questions remain unanswered.


The staff at the Prime Minister's Office realizes that preparations must be made for the day after the Palestinian elections, and this week discussions began on the possible ramifications of the election results if Hamas takes part.

A policy team headed by advisor Dov Weissglass will assess the significance of the Hamas' various achievements in the elections. The working principle in Jerusalem is that the Hamas will not sweep the elections but will win 30 percent of the seats in the Palestinian Parliament.

If the Hamas wins, MK Shimon Peres said this week, the continued existence of the Road Map would be questionable. Peres said such a development would threaten the international aid given to the PA since no country would provide funding to a PA under the control of an armed terrorist organization.

US envoys Elliot Abrams and David Walsh are scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday to hold talks in preparation for the PA elections. They will meet with Weissglass and ranking officials on both sides in order to discuss the possible election outcomes as well as arrangements for the elections themselves.

At this stage Israel opposes voting in East Jerusalem because of Hamas' participation. Israel has already announced it would allow Palestinians from East Jerusalem to vote outside of the city limits. Political sources said the US is not pressuring Israel to allow the vote in Jerusalem itself. The Americans' final stance will become clearer with the envoys' visit this week.


And we cannot overlook the sparring Israeli parties respective positions on the PA elections. All of the three leading parties rejected outright the possibility of talks with a Palestinian government headed by the Hamas.

Sharon has already stated there will be no negotiations with the Palestinians if Hamas heads the PA. Under such circumstances Israel would have no partner, just like under Arafat.

Labor Chairman Amir Peretz said political negotiations should not be conducted with any organization that proclaims a desire to destroy Israel.

Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said negotiations with Hamas would be as unthinkable as the US conducting negotiations with Bin Laden. "With the Hamas we have to wage war, not conduct negotiations," Netanyahu said.


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