I should start by saying that I deeply regret, and have always regretted, the support for Hamas amongst Palestinians. I view Hamas as a nasty organization espousing an unpleasant and narrow version of Islam, and far too ready to turn to violence. I regret the passing of the secular minded and sophisticated wide culture of the urbane Palestinian elite of my youth.
I understand that Palestinian willingness to embrace the limiting certainties of Hamas is due to the appalling pressure caused by decades of unspeakable violence and repression by Israel, the squeezing of Palestinians into ever-shrinking over-crowded reservations, the killings, the continual unrelenting humiliation, the deliberate destruction of all economic base. I understand Hamas won support through social programmes. I understand the extreme corruption of the Fatah leadership, where some seemed to do very nicely out of the disaster that repressed everybody else. I understand the role of Israel and the US in promoting the initial growth of Hamas to weaken the Palestinian cause. My regret is that they succeeded.
Personally I doubt that this latest Hamas/Fatah rapprochement will last any longer than the previous ones. Even for a people in the direst situation, there will always be self-seeking sociopaths emerging as leaders.
But even with all that, the appalling smug reaction of Netanyahu is sickening. Israel at no stage had the slightest intention of entering any meaningful peace process, stopping settlement building, or reducing the dispossession and discrimination suffered by Arabs of all sorts within Israel itself. The World’s most vicious and unrelenting theological and racist state continues to be just that. The United States was not in any sense genuinely involved in abetting a peace process; it was managing the process of genocide of the Palestinians, drawn out over decades, just conducted with enough disguise to allow the mainstream media to pretend it is not happening.
I do not like Hamas, but they remain morally superior to Netanyahu on every conceivable measure.