|EU may stagger Hamas' three conditions|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Tuesday, 05 September 2006 00:00|
I said yesterday that recent comments from EU President Erkki Tuomiojafin showed that the EU had no intention of sticking to the three conditions laid down by the Quartet after Hamas' election into the Palestinian Authority. And today it seems that statement has proven to be accurate. European officials are now questioning whether they were right to bundle the Quartet's three key demands together, believing it may have been too big a change too soon. Rather, some in the European Union are advocating that these preconditions for Hamas' acceptance into the international community are staggered, opening the way for talks rather than isolating the terrorist organization.
Quote: ""No one is questioning the need for the three conditions," a senior European diplomatic source said. "But maybe if you cannot get wholesale adherence by Hamas to these three conditions, why not start with one, and see where that gets us." He said that the one condition that should be insisted upon is an immediate stop to terrorism. "That is more important than the rest," he said. "After that, we could talk about getting them to accept the Oslo framework." This, he said, could then lead to the implied recognition of Israel, because the Oslo framework is predicated on a two-state solution. "But this [recognition of Israel] is not something that needs to be up front," he said.
It seems the only mistake I made was the order of the demands. European diplomats are saying that ending terrorism is the most important precondition, while I thought that recognition of Israel's right to exist was the most important. Perhaps the Europeans think that Hamas is unlikely to compromise in that area, seeing their charter calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on all land now occupied by Israel. It could be easier to get Hamas to agree to halt the violence, rather than to agree to a Jewish state ruling over Muslims, which is in contradiction to the prophecies of the Qur'an. As we saw with former British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, EU officials will do anything to water down their original key demands, by insisting Hamas does not have to recognize Israel's right to exist, only recognize the "fact" of its existence. That of course is no bar on Hamas renewing the fighting at a later date, when it decides it can no longer tolerate that "fact".
Source Jerusalem Post