Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Hamas-Fatah Deal Exposes the West's Fantasy of Palestinian Moderation - Lee Smith
The Hamas-Fatah deal jeopardizes the entire peace process. All the money and prestige the U.S. and EU have poured into the Palestinian issue has come to this: The carefully tended moderate camp has merged with the extremists. Bin Laden's death offers an easy yardstick: If you enthusiastically support a man whose grand strategy consisted of killing as many Americans as possible then you are our enemy. Hamas mourned Osama's passing.
The Palestinian hatred of Israel has been obvious for decades to anyone who reads the statements of Palestinian leaders or the textbooks they distribute to their children. The debate between Palestinian moderates and radicals is a debate over the means, and the timetable, for reaching a common goal. American and other Western policymakers have been peddling a fantasy of Palestinian moderation and peaceful coexistence for more than 30 years. (Tablet)
On a Palestinian Munich - Bernard-Henri Levy
How can so many reasonable minds welcome the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas as good news, when it is, in reality, a catastrophe? It is a catastrophe for Israel, aware that an organization whose favored mode of diplomatic expression has consisted, since the 2007 putsch, of firing missiles at the civilians of Sderot, is back in the saddle.
It is a catastrophe for Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, who, in a few short moments, has ruined all the hard-won political and moral credit gained in the course of the years when he hung on when confronted by a Hamas dubbed a "terrorist organization" by the EU and the U.S. (Huffington Post)
PA-Hamas Pact a Devastating Blow to Peace - Michael Oren (Los Angeles Times)
After the death of Osama bin Laden, Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas regime in Gaza, declared: "We condemn the assassination of an Arab holy warrior." This is the same Hamas that has launched hundreds of suicide bombers and thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Hamas terrorists have held Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, in solitary confinement for nearly five years without a single Red Cross visit. My own sister-in-law, Joan Davenny, a visiting teacher from New Haven riding on a bus to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was murdered by a Hamas bomber.
In spite of these scars, we still seek the creation of a Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in mutual recognition, security and respect. And the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, we hoped, would be our partner.
But PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israel. Instead, he revealed his plan to declare Palestinian statehood unilaterally, without making peace, a violation of treaties with both Israel and the U.S. Then, last week, Abbas signed a unity pact with Hamas, an Iranian proxy, dealing a devastating blow to peace and delivering a potent victory to terrorism.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
See also Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Will Have Little Effect on Peace - Fareed Zakaria (CNN)
The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal is a sign of the weakness of both Fatah and Hamas. In the last election, Hamas won 40% of the vote in a situation that was unusual, and since then they have lost a lot of that support. Both Fatah and Hamas were motivated to do something to show the Palestinian people that they're trying to get their act together.
Ultimately, I don't think it matters that much because Hamas will need to forswear its charter and its talk about eliminating Israel for there to be any realistic prospect the Israelis will want to negotiate with them. So as far as I can tell, the reconciliation is a smaller move than meets the eye and ultimately will not have much effect on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
For a long time, I have felt that there was much less prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace than peopl