Within days after the conclusion of the Annapolis conference which supposedly was to clear the way for peace between Israel and Palestinian leaders, a key official of Fatah, which President Abbas controls, announced Fatah would back Hamas, its enemy, if Israel troops invade the Gaza strip. “Fatah won’t remain idle in the face of an Israel invasion of the Gaza Strip. We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israel army. It’s our duty to defend the people against the occupiers.” This statement apparently indicates a willingness on the part of Fatah and Hamas to set aside differences in case Israel attacks any portion of the Palestinian Authority. There are reports several Arab nations are trying to mediate issues between Hamas and Fatah. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have made clear to President Abbas that peace cannot proceed until he reaches some sort of compromise with Hamas. The leaders of Hamas are charging the Annapolis conference was a cover up to allow Israel to launch an attack on Gaza.
It is amazing that nothing was done or said or agreed upon at Annapolis between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas concerning any planned Israel operations in Gaza. This is definitely not the time for Israel to initiate any violent action against Hamas regardless of the provocation. There is no question Hamas is allowing rocket attacks on Israel, but the Olmert government has too much at stake to allow their anger and frustration to get in the way of proceeding on the road to peace. Invade Gaza and that ends any hope for peace for years. The most important focus of Israel should be upon how it can assist moderate Arab leaders in negotiating with Hamas so there can be a unified Palestinian group with whom to negotiate.