India Intelligence Report

   Hamas, Fattah Recognize Israel as Troops Amass



  • Terrorists with kidnapped Israeli soldier want women and children in Israel prisons to be freed in return for soldier

  • Israel rejects plan and amasses troops on border, US calls for diplomacy

  • Fattah and Hamas have reached a deal to recognize Israel which may be eclipsed by increased tensions

After the dramatic tunneled attack and kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, Israel has ordered troops to the border with Gaza as Hamas and Fattah movements ended weeks of acrimonious negotiations to conclude an agreement that implicitly recognizes Israel.

Negotiators say that they have “an agreement over the document” and would present the document to Fattah President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.

Abbas has been trying to convince Hamas into endorsing the document, which was formulated by senior Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Parties endorsed the plan as a way to end crippling economic sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian government and pave the way to reopening peace talks.

The “document” in question calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel and accepts a 2002 proposal endorsed by the Arab League offering the possibility of full diplomatic relations with Israel. This plan also calls on militants to limit attacks to areas captured by Israel in the 1967 War and calls on the parties to work toward forming a Palestinian unity government.

Assuming that this deal will be approved by Abbas and Haniya, it closes a chapter of bitter conflict between a Fattah-controlled Presidency and a Hamas controlled Legislative.

Hamas’s acceptance of the plan is seen as a major concession as that organization had sworn to the destruction of Israel and its plan includes several suicide bombings killing scores Israelis. But diplomats say that the agreement stipulated that moves towards statehood, including Arab initiatives seeking peace with Israel and international resolutions on the conflict, must serve Palestinian interests and this loophole could allow Hamas to reject, on those grounds, any accommodation with Israel, or recognition of the Jewish state. The deal also appeared likely to lead to the cancellation of a July 26 referendum Abbas scheduled over Hamas’s objections on the prisoners’ document.

However, Islamic Jihad, another militant group, said it still rejected several points in the prisoners’ document, including the concept of a Palestinian state limited to the West Bank and Gaza, land Israel occupied in the 1967 West Asia war.

Israel has called the manifesto an internal Palestinian affair saying it would have no dealings with Hamas until the group recognized its existence, renounced violence, and accepted past interim peace deals.

This great moment in history has been eclipsed by the kidnapping of a soldier by three Palestinian organizations-- Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which is loyal to the ruling Hamas, the previously unknown Army of Islam, and the grassroots level Popular Resistance Committees. These groups are demanding “the immediate release of all women in prison” and the “immediate release of all children in prison younger than 18.” Israel is estimated to be holding nearly 9000 Palestinian prisoners including 100 women and about 300 who are below 18.

Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected the demands and instead ordered a massive troop build-up on the outskirts of Gaza. He warned that “a large-scale military operation is approaching.” Analysts say that Israelis will not attack unless the Americans give them a nod. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Israel to give diplomacy a chance to secure the soldier's release and not carry on its planned assault.