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"Oh ! The Fools!"* (On a Palestinian Munich)

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How can anyone be so stupid?

And how can so many commentators, how can this or that eminence of whatever parliamentary commission, this or that minister or former minister, how can the French Socialist party--in short, how can so many reasonable minds welcome the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas as good news, a good sign, like the far too long delayed reunion of a too long divided people, when it is, in reality, a catastrophe?

It is a catastrophe for Israel, aware that an organisation whose favoured mode of diplomatic expression has consisted, since the 2007 putsch, of firing missiles at the civilians of Sderot, is back in the saddle. Barely a month ago, on Hamas's initiative, a schoolbus came under fire from a Kornet anti-tank weapon.

It is a catastrophe for Mahmud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, who, in a few short moments, the time it took to sign at the bottom of the page of an accord he himself may not believe in, has ruined all the hard-won political and moral credit gained in the course of the years when, confronted by a Hamas dubbed a "terrorist organisation" by all whose voices are considered authoritative, beginning with the European Union and the United States, he hung on. Mahmud Abbas has returned to the bygone days of doublespeak, when Yasser Arafat declared the PLO charter "null and void", all the while underhandedly encouraging various and diverse terrorist attacks.

It is a catastrophe for the Palestinian people themselves (but perhaps the great conciliators, these friends of the Palestinian people who know better than they themselves what is good for them, are not worried about that?) It is a catastrophe, yes, for the million and a half citizens of Gaza who live under the law of a party that is not only terrorist, but totalitarian, an enemy of Palestinian women (these "man factories ", to quote Article 17 of a charter that people really should get round to reading), assassin of the rights and liberties of Palestinians (Articles 24 and 27, among others), and which has chosen to fight to the very last drop of blood of the last living Palestinian rather than to attend "international conferences"--"futile activities" they consider a "waste of time" (Article 13 of the same charter).

It is a catastrophe for a peace of which it is false to say that it was at a standstill. All the polls attest to the fact that a majority of Israelis were and are ready for it. An increasing number of Palestinians were and are fed up with fueling the ages-old hate machine and are inclined to counter the hardline attitude of their leaders in exchange for a viable State. And now, all that has gone by the wayside with the rehabilitation of the only party concerned that is still proclaiming (Article 7, again, of its charter) that "the fulfilment of the promise" shall not come until "the Muslims" have not only "combated" but "killed" all "the Jews".

And, finally, it is a catastrophe for an Arab spring that, as no one can ignore, is also an ideological battlefield where two kinds of power are at loggerheads: on the one side, the democratic and liberal movement that enthusiastically supports human rights, tenant of moderate Islam; and on the other, the old crabs of radical Islam, the tyrannies of yesterday and the day before, the indestructible Muslim Brotherhood, created in Egypt in 1928, close on the heels of burgeoning Hitlerism, and of which Hamas is, today, the Palestinian branch. How, in these conditions, can one fail to see that this "historic" accord signals a prehistoric regression? How can one fail to understand that this fraternisation, with all its razzle-dazzle, is an insult to everything new the recent insurrections have been able to bring to an Arab world crushed under the yoke--an insult to the youth of Tahrir Square in Cairo, who demonstrated for weeks on end without uttering the shadow of an anti-western, anti-American, or anti-Israeli slogan? It is an insult to the insurgents of Benghazi who are fighting for a Libya that will cease to be the second homeland for the negationists, killers of Jews, and terrorists of this world, as it was under Qadhafi; it amounts to spitting in the faces of the hundreds of Syrians who, since March, have been massacred by the best friend of Hamas; it is an offense to Mohammed Buazizi, the young Tunisian who set everything off and who, to my knowledge, did not immolate himself "in solidarity with the jihadis of 1936" (again, the same Article 7 of the Hamas charter. 1936, the high point of the 'Hitlerian' era of the young Hamas).

And so, I know that people are saying, "Wait, you'll see, give it some time, it's by letting the fascists back into the game, by flattering them, showing them consideration, that we'll succeed in toning them down, in improving them."

Well, we'll see. Except that the only thing we've seen so far, the first strong gesture the candidates for improvement made, the day after this shameful accord, was to condemn the elimination of Bin Laden--this "crime" (as Hamas's leader, Ismaël Haniyeh put it) which is right in line with the "policy of oppression" founded upon the "bloodbaths" of formerly colonized peoples. That says it all. And there is, not only in his words, but in the deafening silence that echoes them here, something devastatingly distressing.

*As France's Prime Minister, Edouard Daladier accompanied Neville Chamberlain to Munich and acquiesced to the agreement with Hitler, though, personally, he had no illusions as to Hitler's ultimate intentions. Returning to Paris, he glanced out the plane window at the cheering crowds and reportedly exclaimed, "Ah! Les cons!" [Oh! The fools!]