Hamasí Participation in Palestinian Legislative Elections Violates Oslo Accords and Road Map to Peace
Background and Key Facts
(Israel Policy Forum) On Sept. 12, Israel ended its presence in the Gaza Strip after evacuating all of its roughly 8,500 Jewish residents. The withdrawal paved the way for the Palestinians to start on a path to a peaceful state alongside Israel. However, recent events show that the terrorist group Hamas is committed to carrying out violent acts against Israelis in Israel proper and inside the West Bank.
On Jan. 25, the Palestinian Authority will hold Parliamentary elections. Although it is a violation of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will allow Hamas to participate. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice protested the armed groupís participation in Palestinian elections, stating, "Hamas is a terror organization and it has to be disbanded, both for the sake of peace and security in the Middle East and for the sake of the proper functioning of the Palestinian Authority."
Negotiations based on the Oslo Accords led to an agreement in 1995 that stated, "The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions 1) commit or advocate racism, or 2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful non-democratic means."
Hamasí existence was the primary reason for the creation of that provision, according to Yossi Beilin, a principal architect of the Oslo Accords. Said Dr. Beilin, "In a world seeking to combat terrorism and still looking for the right way to do it, it would be surprising indeed if Israel, paradoxically, were to acquiesce in the legitimization of terrorist organization under its very noseÖ"
Since Sept. 2000, Hamas has carried out thousands of terror attacks, killing 425 Israelis and wounding 2,233 others. During the past 12 years, Hamas has been responsible for sending 113 suicide bombers into Israel. The United States has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. Additionally, it has been declared a terrorist organization by Australia, the European Union, Canada and Israel and has been condemned by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights as a racist organization.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Hamasí participation in the January elections pose a serious threat to Israel if the group isnít first disarmed and doesnít renounce its pledge to destroy Israel. Said Mr. Sharon, "This reality contradicts the Road Map and our understandings with the Palestinians."
The groupís name is the acronym for the Arabic term Islamic Resistance Movement. It is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and was founded by the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 1987. Hamas maintains numerous cells throughout the world that conduct illegal fundraising for its Palestinian branch but maintains a strict protocol of targeting Israeli civilians in Israel proper, the West Bank and, before the disengagement, Gaza.
In addition, Hamas:
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