|Israel Resource Review
||13th Febuary, 2007
Mecca Agreement: No Recognition of Israel
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Israel Intelligence' Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC.
February 13 , 2007
Hamas spokesmen stress that the Mecca Agreement does not recognize Israel.
Although the Agreement does not meet the Quartet's demands, Abu Mazen and
Hamas expect it will be possible to market it to the international community
with the help of Saudi Arabia.
1. The entire Hamas movement and its various spokesmen praised the Mecca
Agreement and expressed their commitment to implementing both its text and
intentions. Hamas announced that it hoped the Agreement would bring internal
Palestinian reconciliation and enable them to turn their resources to the
conflict with Israel and its challenges (Hamas Website, February 9).
2. Khaled Mashaal , head of Hamas's political bureau, made it clear that
Hamas was committed to the government's new letter of appointment, which
includes honoring agreements previously signed by the PLO with Israel . He
even described it as "a new diplomatic language," adopted by Hamas because
of "national need." However, he specifically stated that Hamas had not
changed it fundamental position and that "every faction retained its own
political opinions" (Agence France-Presse, February 9).
3. In various interviews, Khaled Mashaal and other Hamas spokesmen clearly
stated that the Mecca Agreement did not contain recognition of Israel and
that Hamas had no intention of recognizing Israel :
A. Khaled Mashaal was asked by an interviewer from Al-Hayat if honoring
agreements signed by the PLO meant recognition of Israel . He answered that
the issue of recognition had not been raised at the discussions in Mecca
(Al-Hayat, February 10).
B. Nizar Rayan , a senior Hamas activist in the Gaza Strip, made it clear
that Hamas would never recognize Israel and the Mecca Agreement contained no
change in the movement's policies (Reuters from the Gaza Strip, February 9).
C. Ismail Radwan , a Hamas spokesman, said that "the agreement reached in
Mecca does not mean recognition of the Israeli entity." Hamas's firm stance,
he said, was "non-recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist movement." He
stated that the Hamas government's position on the issue was based on "the
national reconciliation document" (i.e., the prisoners' document), which did
not recognize "the Zionist entity" (Agence France-Presse, February 9).
D. Ahmad Yussuf , advisor to Abu Mazen, was asked about the Quartet's demand
for recognition of Israel . He answered that Hamas did not recognize Israel
and that the fundamental platform of the next government would not include
recognition of Israel (Al-Jazeera TV, February 10).
4. Although the Mecca Agreement essentially does not fulfill the basic
demands of the Quartet, those who signed it expect that a massive propaganda
campaign , supported by Saudi Arabia , will make it possible to market the
Agreement to the international community :
A. Abu Mazen told Al-Hayat that they expected "the new government will
receive international recognition to pave the way for the end of the siege,"
and added, "a great effort is demanded of Palestinians and Arabs to make the
international community accept the Mecca Agreement." (Al-Hayat, February
10). Fatah's information committee issued a release stating that Abu Mazen
had sent a circular to Palestinian representatives all over the world saying
that "we will initiate a broad political campaign to remove the siege our
people and the Palestinian Authority are subject to."
B. Ghazi Hamad , Hamas government spokesman said the following about the
effort to market the Agreement: " We have agreed with the Saudis to market
this agreement internationally . Our [Saudi] brothers are in constant
contact with the Americans and Europeans and I believe there is a
possibility to market this agreement" (Reuters from Mecca , February 9).
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OUST PERETZ FROM THE DEFENSE MINISTRY
Maariv, February 13th, 2007
[Late in March, 2006, just before the Israeli elections, I accompanied my son to the bus which would take him to IDF basic training. En route, on Jaffa Road, I met Amir Peretz campaigning and asked him about his program for Israeli security. He took my hand, held it tightly and said, with TV cameras
filming, that he had no idea about any matter relating to Israeli security. Pressing him again, I asked about his stand about security threats to Israel. Peretz was adamant and screamed that there are Israeli generals in his party who know about security - not him. DB]
Ehud Olmert spoke truthfully when, by proxy of his aides, he accused Amir Peretz of having implicitly encouraged the rioting at the Western Wall plaza. The publication of his letter to the prime minister about delaying the work at the Mughrabi Gate was, in the prime minister's view, proof of the defense minister's reckless behavior, which was geared to win the Arab votes in the Labor Party primary in May
But what about following through? If that is the way Peretz is—and
indeed he is—then what is Olmert waiting for? Why does he not oust him
from the Defense Ministry? What is he waiting for? For another Intifada
to erupt? And then Olmert won't understand why people say that he took a
cynical course of action and that he preferred political convenience
over the nation's welfare.
Let us remove all doubt: it was not Ehud Barak who was responsible
for the Intifada, nor was it Ariel Sharon in his visit to the Temple
Mount in 2000, and nor is it Peretz now. It is clear Palestinian
incitement. This time too, when there isn't even a single Israeli Arab
who genuinely suspects that the government wants to damage el-Aksa
Mosque, and there isn't even a single minority leader who has the
courage to tell his public that truth.
Peretz's motives are unacceptable, and Olmert needs to choose
between empty prattle and a measure that is crucial to national
security. He needs to oust Peretz. Not because of the content of his
letter, but because he was indiscreet at even the most sensitive
We are talking about a delusional defense minister. A defense
minister who threatens to go to the attorney general against his own
government instead of resigning from it when he finds its ways
unacceptable. The farce will peak when Peretz petitions the High Court
of Justice against the defense minister. He's capable of doing that.
Olmert bears more responsibility than Peretz because he did not
heed Ehud Barak's warning that one day he was liable to wake up in the
Middle East to find himself faced with a war, and to look to his side
only to find Peretz there as his partner; he bears more responsibility
because he has kept Peretz in his position, both because of an erroneous
calculation and as a result of immoral considerations.
Erroneous? Because of the high probability that replacing Peretz
with either Barak or Ami Ayalon will not cause the Labor Party to bolt
from the coalition. There will be a bit of noise, and all of the
ministers will happily remain in place with their Volvos but without
Peretz. Is there absolute certainty that the Labor Party will remain in
the coalition without Peretz? Of course not. In life one has to take
reasonable risks. All the more so when the alternative options of the
Likud and Binyamin Netanyahu are quite acceptable as well, and there are
other coalition possibilities on the horizon.
Immoral? Because of a number of reasons. A government whose prime
minister does not speak with his defense minister should be
indicted—publicly, not criminally—for breach of trust. An ongoing
situation in which Peretz chose to send a letter to Olmert by fax
because they do not even discuss security-related issues with one
another is not merely a iniquity and a sin. It is a national crime.
Not only because of the implied, unintentional support that Peretz
gave to the Islamic Movement, but because in the current state of
affairs it is impossible to choose a worthy candidate to serve as the
director general of the Defense Ministry. Who would agree to be
appointed for two weeks? For two months? David Ivri and Amos Yaron
survived a number of various defense ministers. It is a position that
requires continuity. No serious individual will tie his fate to that of
Olmert cannot hope that the Winograd Committee will pull the
chestnuts out of the fire for him. Because if the committee shows the
integrity that is expected of it—and its members are capable of
that—then he is going to emerge more beaten than Peretz. There is no
It is true that Olmert needs to resign. Without an appointed
investigative committee. Without the committee that he tried to form
under Nahum Admoni. He failed in the war. Had he taken responsibility he
would have swept out with him Peretz and Dan Halutz as well and would
have saved the agonized security establishment half a year of
deliberation. But reality is otherwise. In keeping with the rules of
democracy, it is within his power to dismiss a minister but not the
other way around. Therefore, as the lesser of all evils, he needs to act
to bring about the essential parting from Peretz.
Tarrying on this issue is to add insult to injury. A decision to fire
Peretz here and now will cast a wee bit of light in the governmental
darkness and will give Olmert what he needed so in these past few
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