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May 06, 1994 - Image 67

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-05-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

thing we can to bring Hamas into
the frame and make them full
partners and full participants
with us in the new Palestinian
authority."
Despite the fanaticism dis-
played by their suicide bombers
in Israel over recent weeks, he
said, Hamas is pragmatic and
flexible. It is determined to safe-
guard its religious principles, but
equally it does not want to be left
on the margin of events.
One Hamas leader, who was
among those exiled to Lebanon
for a year, illustrated the ambi-
guity of his movement's position
this week: "No to the PLO's
agreement with the Israelis, no
to the self-rule authority that is
part of the agreement — but yes
to sharing in all of our national
institutions," he said.
Hamas appears to be playing
both sides against the middle: It
is determined to stand apart from
the self-rule experiment in case
it fails, but at the same time it
wants to be integrally involved at
the grass-roots in the event it suc-
ceeds.
Hamas ideologists speak pas-
sionately of their regard for the
will of the people; of following
rather than leading. They claim
they embarked on their suicide
bombing campaign only in re-
sponse to public demands for
vengeance following the Feb. 25
Hebron mosque massacre by
Baruch Goldstein.
Ahmed Khalidi, an adviser on
security to the PLO, believes it is
now in the interests of Hamas to
cool passions within its ranks. "hi
the initial period of the Palestin-
ian authority, Hamas will face
the risk that anything it does to
undermine that authority will be
unpopular.
"Most Palestinians are looking
forward to a period of stability in
which their economic welfare will
improve, so, in the very short
term, Hamas will have to be care-
ful not to be seen to be upsetting
the cart."
Not all Israelis are so sanguine
about the Hamas-PLO pact or
the pacific intentions of the Is-
lamic extremists.
Israeli Chief of Staff Lieu-
tenant General Ehud Barak
warned the Knesset Foreign Af-
fairs and Defense Committee last
week that the PLO and Hamas
had the same long-term strategy
regarding Israel.
"In my opinion," the Israeli me-
dia quoted him as saying, "we are
talking about two faces of the
[Palestinian] national movement,
whose long-term goals are very
similar in everything connected
to us, although they have differ-
ent approaches over how to
achieve these goals.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we
see Hamas people integrated into
the various [administrative] sys-
tems in Gaza and Jericho," added
Barak, citing institutions
as schools and mosques. "At

the same time, I wouldn't be sur-
prised to see a different branch
of Hamas trying to continue ter-
rorist activity.
"As a rule, I think [the PLO]
will have an incentive to prove
that terror has decreased in the
areas under their responsibility.
This is an important test for them
and they will put pressure on
Hamas to lessen their activity in
Gaza and Jericho.
"They want to expand these ar-
eas and [keeping control] will give
substance to their political claims
that the areas that have been giv-
en to them are being run rela-
tively peacefully." .
According to Israeli Deputy
Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, an
architect of the deal with the
PLO, continued violence and ter-
rorism at recent levels will de-
stroy the process and cause the
talks on the final status of the
territories to fail.
However, he added: "I believe
that once Palestinians control
Gaza and Jericho, they will be
able to control terrorism, too. But
Pm not sure. We have to test it."
As Israelis and Palestinians
teeter on the brink of their first
real experiment in peace, the
time for that test has arrived. ❑

Settler Kills
Palestinian

Jerusalem (JTA) — A settler
from the West Bank town of
Shiloh has been detained by
police for the shooting death
of a pregnant Palestinian
woman.
The shooting occurred
after Palestinian youths
from the village of El-Jib,
located near the West Bank
town of Ramallah, threw
stones at the settler's truck.
According to witnesses and
Israeli military sources, the
settler got out of his truck,
pulled out his pistol and shot
at one of the village homes.
A bullet went through the
window of the home and
fatally wounded 18-year-old
Fatma Khaleifa, who was
three months pregnant and
the mother of an eight-
month-old baby girl. The
child was unharmed.
The settler fled the scene,
but was later caught by the
police near Jerusalem.
Police had been given a
description of the man and
his vehicle.. .
The settler, who was not
identified, was described as
a man in his 30s, married
and the father of several
children. He works as a
refrigeration technician for
Coca-Cola.
To the anger of the
residents of El-Jib, the Israel
Defense Force subsequently
clamped a curfew on the
village. ❑

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