Don’t believe the phony denial issued by the White House and State Department a few days ago after the NY Times exposed a plan by State and Israel to bring Hamas and any Palestinian government it creates to its knees in order to prove to Palestinians that Hamas can never bring them anything other than economic ruin and chaos. Tonight’s news in Haaretz that the U.S. has demanded the return of $50-million in aid it provided last year is the real proof of where our policy lies regarding Hamas. That is, we’re right in line with those Israeli hardliners who delude themselves into thinking that even harsher policies toward the Palestinians are all it will take to finally “bring them around” to Israel’s way of thinking:
Israel decided on Friday to block Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament from traveling from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank city of Ramallah for Saturday’s swearing-in ceremony, Israel Radio reported.
…Olmert approved on Friday the defense establishment’s advice to begin taking punitive steps against the PA as of Sunday, the day after the Hamas-led Palestinian parliament takes office. The suggested measures include freezing further transfers of the tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA and banning the entry of workers from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
…Solana asked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday to continue transferring tax monies to the Palestinians and refrain from freezing the funds at least until the new Palestinian government is formed. However, Livni said that once the new Hamas-led parliament is sworn in, the PA will essentially have become “a terrorist entity” even if the new government has not yet been formed.
Other steps the defense establishment advocates include banning the movement of Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank; preventing transfers of military equipment to the PA from foreign countries, such as donations of armored personnel carriers and communications gear; and freezing plans to upgrade the crossing points between the territories and Israel as well as plans to build a port and airport in Gaza.
…A team headed by the prime minister’s special adviser, Dov Weissglas, also presented its recommendations on how Israel should respond to Hamas’ electoral victory at Thursday’s meeting called by Mofaz. Weissglas proposed that Israel issue an ultimatum to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, demanding that he fulfill his promise to disarm the terrorist organizations and that the new PA government abjure violence, recognize Israel, and accept the road map peace plan and all signed Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The ultimatum would expire either after 60 days or upon occurrence of a “Hamas event,” such as the establishment of a Hamas-led government that did not accept the three conditions posed by Israel and the international community. Upon expiry of the ultimatum, Israel’s measures to cut ties with the PA would become more stringent.
Looks like after a promising few months in which Ehud Olmert seemed to be speaking words of hope and peace, he’s decided that the honeymoon is over and it’s back to the same old harsh rhetoric and drastic ultimatums. They never work but I guess they sound good to a security-starved electorate.
Dov Weisglass is also always good for an utterly cynical, atrociously candid comment regarding Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. He didn’t disappoint according to the NY Times:
Dov Weissglas, an adviser to the prime minister, was quoted by the Israeli news media as telling an official meeting: “It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.”
When I read this sort of wit from this monster it makes my blood boil. Only a fat slob like Weisglass could talk about making people living on the edge of misery and starvation go on a diet. Palestinians are ALREADY living in a virtual prison with no living standards to speak of, no economy to speak of, no ability to move and almost no ability to breathe and this jackass says he wants to put them on a diet but not starve them to death?! All I can say is I wish a man like this very bad things in his future so he may know in the flesh what the power of his words could be. Perhaps the Lord can afflict him with a wasting disease so he will know what it is like to “go on a diet” but not “strave to death.” I’m sorry. I don’t remember ever wishing ill on anyone in this way. But reading this drove me to a place of great despair.
And after hearing this dreary nonsense from Israeli intelligence analysts we can safely say that the U.S. is not the only country with a national security apparatus that does little more than provoke fear in the populace:
The heads of the intelligence agencies warned at the meeting of a “honey trap” in which Hamas would present a moderate front to lull the international community, while building up its forces for a violent confrontation with Israel. The defense establishment also warned that the defeated Fatah party was liable to take out its anger in the form of terror attacks against Israelis.
This type of thinking allows Israelis to never have to take anything Hamas says seriously. If the latter says it will renounce terror–they’re lying. If they say they will wage implacable war against Israel forever–they’re telling the truth. How convenient. But does anyone ever stop and think that perhaps Israeli intelligence has a vested interest in making people believe that there is no hope Hamas will ever be anything but a terror organization? Just as the CIA and U.S. military had a vested interest during the Cold War in exaggerating the Soviet threat.
I found this statement by Shaul Mofaz also to be galling:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the European Union on Friday that Hamas is making a serious effort to get funding from Iran and is asking Tehran for guidance on how to run the Palestinian Authority, Israel Radio reported.
In a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Solana in Jerusalem, Mofaz emphasized the importance of international support of Israel’s positions on Hamas and said there should be no negotiations with Hamas unless it recognizes Israel and puts a halt to terrorism.
Israel attempts to create an iron wall around Hamas by driving all international support away and he’s shocked, I say shocked that Hamas might turn to Iran for help. Of course it will turn to Iran. Where else can it turn? Do I like the fact that Hamas may resort to the most unsavory of allies in order to maintain its own survival? No. But what choice is Israel and the U.S. giving it?
Another danger that both Israel and the U.S. run is that by taking the most extreme positions they can against Hamas, they just may drive the Europeans, Russians, Chinese and Indians in the opposite direction. These days, it’s hard to find a country that wants to be seen as America’s lapdog. We’ve had too much of that during the Iraq war. So I would encourage these nations to strike out independently. Don’t let yourself be bullied and browbeaten by the U.S.-Israel war axis against the Palestinian people. Show them there is a third way. A way that insists that Hamas observes international norms in its relations with Israel; while supporting the Palestinian people’s valiant experiment with democracy.
And as for the U.S. Congress, they should be ashamed of themselves. They’re falling all over themselves to curry favor with AIPAC and adopt ever more draconian anti-Hamas proposals. These politicians don’t understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They only understand what AIPAC tells them. That’s as far as their “thinking” goes on the subject. And I’m embarrassed to say that American Jewish congressmembers like Gary Ackerman are leading this charge for the pro-Israel lobby:
“When Hamas looks at America, at the [Bush] administration, at the [U.S.] Congress, they must see nothing but fierce, unrelenting, and implacable rejection,” said Congressman Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat. “There can be no political absolution for this pack of killers. And the very idea of giving our taxpayers money to these bloody-handed fanatics, people who have slaughtered our own citizens, is offensive.”
This is nothing different from those stupid Congressional votes to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. All show and no substance. Talk tough and carry a big stick. But where does it get you? And where is our embassy? It ain’t in Jerusalem I’ll tell ‘ya that. And shutting off the spigot for U.S. aid to the Palestinians is a meaningless gesture that puts us on the wrong side of this issue.