Israel has a long and honored tradition of gross meddling in Palestinian politics in order to get the kinds of outcome it prefers. A few decades ago it was the Village Leagues, which were supposed to be West Bank toady tribal elders doing Israel’s bidding. Then Israel helped lay the groundwork for Hamas in a pathetic attempt to undercut Fatah support among Palestinians. Those ideas worked swimmingly as we now can see with Hamas controlling Palestinian government.
The U.S. too has a proud and miserable record of meddling in the internal affairs of foreign governments: Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Iran, El Salvador. We have a long and dishonorable tradition of trying to disrupt, topple or otherwise interfere with any government we didn’t like. Potential future candidates for such interference might now be Bolivia or Brazil where we officially “detest” the “leftists” in power.
So isn’t it reassuring that both Israel and the U.S. are going to team up to bring the new Hamas government to its knees. How do they plan to do that?
The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.
….The United States and Israel say Palestinian life will only get harder if Hamas does not meet those three demands.
This is quite humorous since the PA is essentially bankrupt. How do you further starve a nation that is essentially already starving? How do you make Palestinian life that is already essentially unbearable and prison-like even more so? And do we really think that the Palestinians will not see through this charade and place blame where it belongs? Not on Hamas, but on us and the Israelis?
The U.S. has committed approximately $200-million to the PA while Israel contributes several hundred million per year according to international agreement. Do the U.S. and Israel really believe that the Arab governments, Russia and France (who’ve both indicated a willingness to buck the U.S. in its effort to isolate Hamas) wouldn’t step in and fill that gap? Personally, I think Hamas would look mighty good as a David fighting against the U.S.-Israel Goliath in that struggle. They’re the scrappy underdogs fighting against all odds on behalf of their people. Makes for a great story in the world media.
They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel’s right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements — as called for by the United Nations and the West — or face isolation and collapse.
So get this, we give Hamas an ultimatum–do our bidding or begone. That’s also going to go over awfully well in the world community. The U.S. has been doing nothing but bullying in the Middle East since it invaded Iraq and now we want to start bullying Hamas. I’d say this policy should work about as well as our Iraq policy has worked over the past few years–that is to say, hardly at all.
And I say this as someone who does not support Hamas. But I can see this putative policy as a train wreck waiting to happen. It’s the fruit of some hyperactive spook-like imagination. I’m sorry to say that the Times indicates this plan is being discussed “at the highest levels of the State Department and the Israeli government.” That is to say, Condi Rice is behind this thing. Hard to believe a woman that smart (well, at least about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) can be so dumb as to embrace this turkey.
The United States and the European Union in particular want any failure of Hamas in leadership to be judged as Hamas’s failure, not one caused by Israel and the West.
Well, gee after this article that shouldn’t be difficult to pull off, should it?
The U.S.-Israeli plan relies on Mahmoud Abbas to implement it since he’d be the one to declare Hamas’ government null and void and call new elections. What we’re not relying on is the fact that Abbas will not want to see himself as a willing accomplice to this ham-handed manipulation. He’d be smart to resign too rather than cooperate with such meddling in his own nation’s politics.
It is essential that the European Union and Russia step in and tell Condi she’s losing her mind on this one. And tell her if she insists on going forward that they will oppose her and break up what consensus has been built up regarding the international community’s response to Hamas. In that sense, the recent French-Russian breakaway is a good thing. If Russia (a government I normally detest) can create some political movement in Hamas’ positions and France supports these efforts, then the U.S. and Israel will be left holding the bag.
The Times article quotes this upbeat assessment from a Hamas legislator:
Mr. Asaad laughed and added: “First, I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy. But there is no way to retreat now. It’s not possible for the U.S. and the world to turn its back on an elected democracy.”
Ah, but we did just that in Chile and we can do the same in Palestine given half a chance.