There are no Palestinian leaders who believe in the ‘peace process’ 

When President Barack Obama said last month “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist,” he was referring to Hamas.

In its charter, Hamas calls Palestine an “Islamic endowment” and specifically rules out a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel. Hamas describes itself as “one of the links in the Chain of Jihad.” It uses terrorism to achieve its goals and its spokesmen openly mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, calling him an “Arab holy warrior” who deserves to spend eternity with the “true believers and the martyrs.”

Nevertheless, Obama also made clear that he believes the “peace process” can and must move forward. If the Israelis cannot be expected to negotiate with Hamas, surely they can negotiate with Fatah, the other main Palestinian faction. Though now in the process of forming a coalition with Hamas, Fatah does recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Or does it? Azzam al-Ahmed is a member of the Fatah Central Committee. He is closely associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And last week, he was pretty clear in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Fatah has never recognized Israel’s right to exist and will never do so,” he said.

So, by Obama’s own reasoning, there are now no Palestinian leaders with whom the Israelis can be “expected to negotiate.” And that, in turn, implies that what we call the “peace process,” which began with talks in Madrid 20 years ago, is now as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. That’s big news — though few news outlets are treating it as such.

It should now be apparent that both Hamas and Fatah are pursuing the dream not of a Palestinian state that would take its place next to Israel but of a Palestinian state that would replace Israel.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and political Islam.

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