The Washington Post on Hamas.

Biohiatt_f "The most dangerous illusion to emerge from the U.S.-Israeli discussions is the idea that Hamas can be isolated in Gaza while Mr. Abbas is built up in the West Bank. The Palestinian president is unlikely to abandon the 1.5 million people of Gaza to a de facto military and economic siege. If he does, Hamas will use its own forces to ensure that the West Bank also is ungovernable or to start a new war with Israel. As repugnant as its terrorism and ideology are, Hamas won a free election and still has the support of a large part of the Palestinian population. It cannot be abolished by decree, and isolation will only make it more radical and more dependent on sponsors in Syria and Iran."  Washpost


Is Fred Hiatt (editorial page editor of WAPO) on vacation?  How did this editorial manage to find its way to the top of the page? 

One of the most dangerous features of the joint Israeli/AIPAC/US/WINEP policy toward the "question" of Palestine has been the "dangerous illusion" that the Palestinians (and, indeed all the Middle Eastern peoples) are a bit like malicious children who can be coaxed, cajoled or manipulated into doing whatever the "grownups" want them to do.  This editorial warns against thinking that this is true.

Fred Hiatt is a Bushy apparatchik, a cuckoo planted in the editorial "nest" of the Washington Post.  He has transformed the once liberal newspaper’s "meditations" into something nearly unrecognizable.  Has he suddenly had a "road to Damascus" moment?  Hmmm, that might be an awkward phrase on several levels.

I observed on the tube a week ago that it is very difficult under any circumstances to tell a people who their leaders may be.  It is even more difficult to do that when those leaders were democratically elected in a process held to be fair by the international community.  The US/Israeli/AIPAC/WINEP position seems to be to "hope" that the bribery and threats being employed against Hamas will bring the Palestinians to accept that they may not have Hamas as their government until Hamas accepts de jure the permanent existence of Israel.  The Palestinians have never shown any vulnerability to such "arguments" before.  Why do we/they think that will work now?  There are no countries or parties in the Arab World that truly accept Israel.  Even the ones who have signed treaties with Israel have done so most grudgingly and exist in a state of "cold peace" with her.  Is FATAH really reconciled to the idea of Israel?  If you think so, just wait a few months.  What you will see is the commencement of operations against Israel by factions of FATAH.

To bolster the image of the awfulness of Hamas, we are "assured" by the organs of propaganda that Hamas is merely a tool of Syria and Iran.  Syria?  Who knows?  I doubt that this is more than a mere assertion of a propaganda (IO) theme.  Where is the evidence?  Iran? This is more likely.  In fact, it is nearly certain in the context of Iran’s drive to power in the Islamic world.  Nevertheless, I would still like to see the evidence.  The country not named in the "indictment" of Hamas financers and suppliers is Saudi Arabia.  The kingdom of sand, oil and prevarication has been among the principal supporters of Hamas and many other Islamist groups for a long time.  I don’t need to be shown the evidence for that.  It is a matter of personal knowledge for me.  It is inconvenient for the Bush Administration to acknowledge Saudi support for Hamas, and so they don’t.

Hamas offered Israel a ten year truce when it came to office after the election that it won.  That was scorned.  The Israelis want a permanent cession of "their" land, and until now will accept nothing else.  They argue that a truce (hudna) would serve as "cover" for the recovery of strength by their enemies and nothing else.  They are unlikely to get anything but a truce, so maybe they should think this over.

Most people do not now remember that the United States expended a great deal of money and effort in "growing" the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority’s semi-state, only to see it destroyed utterly by Israel.  That destruction cleared the way for Hamas’ rise to "glory."  In that context how can Americans, believe anything that a right wing Israeli government says of its attitude toward Palestine.  pl

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35 Responses to The Washington Post on Hamas.

  1. Abu Sinan says:

    Never mind Hamas was initially support by Israel themselves, as a sort of religious counterweight to the secular/leftist nature of the rest of the Palestinian resistance.
    This will backfire big time. All of the “ringing endorsements” by the Israelis and Americans of Abbas are nails in his coffin. He will rightly be seen as nothing more than a tool of the West.
    Never mind that his emergency government will soon be in trouble. The Palestinian law does not allow such an entity to be more than a temporary solution.
    There is Saudi/Iranian/Syrian money all over the West Bank and Gaza. The difference between Hamas and Fatah is that the money goes to the people with Hamas, with Fatah it goes into their Mercedes, luxury houses, and to their leader’s fat ban accounts in the West.
    Israel and the USA is getting this wrong just like they got Hizb’Allah. They will regret it. Once again the US is using it’s wishes and dreams to guide it’s foreign policy, not reality.

  2. meletius says:

    I think that with this latest Palestinian development, an effective coup of an elected government, the grand American ideal of “democracy” in the “new middle east” can be thrown on the scrap heap, probably for good. American “backed” democracy reforms have been shown to be a fraud to every person in the region.
    And now that we have desecrated our holy ideal of democracy as the highest, finest and best system of government, what exactly do we have to fall back on in our future ME “policy-making”?
    Another Bushco blunder of sizeable proportions, aided and abetted by our sidekick, Israel—or are we the sidekick?

  3. Trent says:

    Our admin. also forgets Fatah’s hand in a number of attacks on Israel. And rampant corruption. And lack of cohesion.
    Interesting piece in Stratfor about the Egyptian link to Gaza. Not George Friedman’s finest but it is topical. They won’t let me link but I can cut and paste legally if people are interested.

  4. jamzo says:

    i cannot shake off the idea that the palestinic-phobic israelis have siezed onto the emergence of hamas as their newest-and-latest reason for holding onto the “spoils of the 1967 war” and the occupation that maintains it
    the backstory to the latest hamas-fatah conflict is not being publically discussed
    mark perry writing in harpers 6/17/07 says
    “1. What’s going on in Gaza? Is it the beginning of a Palestinian civil war?
    This is not a civil war between Hamas and Fatah. What happened was that a small segment of Fatah, represented by the Preventive Security Service under the command of Mohammed Dahlan, tried to enter Gaza. Hamas warned Abu Mazin [Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority] not to allow the Service in because it was controlled by Dahlan, supplied, trained and equipped by the United States, and set up to take them on. But the warning was ignored and they attacked when the Service came in, soundly defeating it. But the conflict was between Hamas and the Service, not all of Fatah. Fatah is still alive and well in Gaza.”
    i have tended to think of fatah as a popular movement representing the consensus palestinian viewpoint
    the emergence of hamas and their political strength on the west bank as well as gaza caused me to reexamine my perception
    looking back i now see that gaza has historical economic, social and political ties to egypt and west bank palestinians have economic, social and political ties to jordan
    it now seems to me that fatah is an old and tired institution born in the “liberation days” of the sixties-seventies and nurtured in cold war politics
    they probably “knocked-off” other political groups
    arafat does not appear to have built a self-sustaining organization
    i doubt that the current guy – abbas – represents an organic and vibrant leadership succession
    i agree with you that the israelis and bushies cannot make the palestinians accept him as their leader, but he sure is a convenient tool for them to maintain the status quo
    is it possible that the current hamas-fatah struggle signals a change in the hamas-fatah political battle for leadership of the palestinians
    is it possible that the event signals to the world that hamas forces are stronger than fatah forces and the us arms supply of arms, training and intelligence(?) to fatah forces will not work
    are there other contending groups
    groups that are not visible to us who depend on western media for information

  5. Matthew says:

    Col: It is a testament to the power of the Zionist framing of ME issues that our media is only now realizing what a policy disaster our forced embargo/boycott/collective punishment of the Palestinians has become. The Palestinians are poorer, more radical, and frankly, a little thinner. In contrast, we look like double-talking callous phonies. They can gain weight. Can we regain gravitas?
    Fatah is finished, at least in its current form. Maybe, just maybe, if Barghouti is realeased from the Zionist Gulag, the Occupying Entity will have someone to parley with. Abbas, the closest thing that the Palestinians have to a Quisling, may just have to develop a backbone in order to survive. Me thinks he will live to regret that “apology” he made to the monster Sharon at Aqaba.

  6. b says:

    Thanks Pat!
    There is one former U.S. president who understands that

    Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration’s refusal to accept Hamas’ 2006 election victory was “criminal.”
    Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas’ moderate Fatah movement.

    Far from encouraging Hamas’ move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.
    “That action was criminal,” he said in a news conference after his speech.
    “The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah,” he said.
    Carter said the U.S. and others supplied the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza with vastly superior weaponry in hopes they would “conquer Hamas in Gaza” — but Hamas routed Fatah in the fighting last week because of its “superior skills and discipline.”

    My U.S. friends can be proud of that guy.

  7. Montag says:

    After Hamas won the election they did something that Fatah had never done–they held town meetings between Hamas officals and the Palestinian public, where the officials had to “face the music” so to speak. With Fatah it’s always top-down.
    I was also somewhat amazed that Israel failed to learn the lesson that the leader of the Assassins, the Old Man of The Mountain, learned during the Crusades. He found that in dealing with the Christian military orders he was powerless, because assassinating their leaders would only result in their immediate replacement. It’s like trying to teach a lion to sing–it’s a waste of time and it annoys the lion.
    Since the Old Man’s power and influence was based upon prestige (a polite word for fear), any attempt to influence the military orders by assassinations would lessen that prestige, by exposing his impotence where they were concerned. So he wisely came to a modus vivendi with them–leaving his prestige intact. The game simply wasn’t worth the candle.

  8. zanzibar says:

    Great post, PL. You crack through the corporate media spin like a knife through hot butter.
    Yes, its amazing the WaPo editorial actually stated the obvious – that Hamas won an election and has the legitimate right to lead the Palestinian government.
    The Israelis and their AIPAC led US compatriots are unwilling to have a real Palestinian interlocutor as that would mean serious negotiations and compromise. They would much rather prefer dominating the Palestinians in their belief that they would not really have to compromise or trade land for a settlement. As a result all we see is more and more spin and PR campaigns while the facts on the ground are the Palestinians get more and more desperate as Israeli punishments and usurpation of their lands gets more severe.
    The only way this ends is when the US elects leaders that are not beholden to AIPAC and the Likudniks.

  9. Got A Watch says:

    The Bushies and their cousins may have blundered even more than usual on this one:
    “A Palestinian “occupation”?”
    By Paul Woodward, War in Context, June 20, 2007
    Interesting article:
    “It becomes increasingly clear that Abbas and the narrow circle of Palestinians around him have invested all their hopes in promises of support from the U.S. and Israel — even if this means running the risk of being seen as traitors by a large number of Palestinians. Furthermore, Abbas’ position has now become more tenuous than ever after “priceless” and politically damaging information has fallen into Hamas’ hands.
    Hamas now possesses explosive intelligence material seized from the Palestinian Preventive Intelligence HQ and the Palestinian General Intelligence center in Gaza. These contain a store of national secrets and compromising information that, Israel’s DEBKAfile suggests Hamas can use to hold over the heads of Western leaders and officials, lists of undercover agents, and records of covert operations carried out by the Israeli Mossad, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, CIA, British MI6 and other Western agencies. Iran, Syria and Hamas will know the names of politicians, including Israelis, who worked secretly with Palestinians and their shady deals.
    According to Al-Quds al-Arabi (via Missing Links), Hamid al-Raqt, Hamas spokesman in Khan Yunis:
    … stressed that it will be possible to disclose some of this to specific sectors of the Palestinian people in order to give them a clear picture of what was going on in the preventive security and the intelligence operations in Gaza… And in spite of his insistence that these documents would not be used to denigrate any Palestinian official or foreign agency, so as to avoid increasing tensions with the outside world, he did say that the documents in the control of Hamas show conclusively that the Palestinian security [organizations] were not subordinated to the [Palestinian] Authority in the way that they were subordinated to foreign Mukhabarat [intelligence] agencies. He refused to name the foreign agencies except to mention British intelligence.
    Meanwhile, the Bush administration remains oblivious about how badly it has miscalculated”
    Load gun. Shoot foot. Repeat. The neo-con Way.

  10. jonst says:

    Sadly, from my perspective, Israel will painfully regret its decision to turn down at least discussing the truce. It will come to be seen as huge strategic blunder on their part. Whatever the US and Israel do now in the ME, seems to turn out dead wrong and counter-productive.

  11. M.K. says:

    Montag: That is actually not quite true. Fatah, during the first intifada, had a very strong communal system in work, with communal meetings, etc. Then they got gradually corrupted. The real problem they have now is that they are viewed as judases even among their own supportbase for accepting the coin of the US. Im not sure what the opposite of soft-power is, but currently the US seems to have it. Anything you touch is automatically suspect.

  12. Colonel Lang wrote:
    “I observed on the tube a week ago that it is very difficult under any circumstances to tell a people who their leaders may be. It is even more difficult to do that when those leaders were democratically elected in a process held to be fair by the international community.”
    The good colonel offered these observations in the context of the intra-Palestinian Fatah/Hamas struggle for political legitimacy in the face of ongoing Israeli-American efforts to thwart the development of any such thing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, the ambiguous possessive pronoun “their” and the perhaps-inadvertent choice of “may” instead of “should” in the opening sentence reminded me once again of the American regime’s own indigenous problem of political legitimacy, and how the American people have refused to believe, much less taken steps to counter, the ravenous depredations of a radical reactionary power that America’s own Supine Court placed into office over the expressed political preferences of the electorate in the year 2000. Americans have a lot more in common with the occupied and abused Palestinians than they seem able to recognize; but trying to tell them this — and what it all means about America’s crypto-fascist “leaders” — has indeed proven difficult, if not impossible.
    In his book, The Great Unravelling: from boom to bust in three scandalous years, Paul Krugman (professor of economics and New York Times columnist) explains this shocked refusal by Americans to face America’s own always-endemic fascism whenever it periodically — as it has once again — opens its ravening mouth to take another huge bite out of our society, traditions, economy, and hopes for a better, more democratic future. In his trenchant introduction, Krugman explains “how the American political and media establishment establishment has [haplessly] responded to the radicalism of the Bush administration.” Given our blog host’s oft-used term “Jacobins” in reference to the radical Republican neoconservatives who first infiltrated and now infest the American government at all levels, I think it appropriate and germane here to follow Krugman further in quoting a young [pre-corrupt] Harvard Professor named Henry Kissinger (and I do appreciate the irony here) about the ineffective response of post-Waterloo Europe to a ruthlesss revolutionary power it found completly incomprehensible:
    “Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent, they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion of a revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework. The defenders of the status quo therefore tend to begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions. Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation are considered balanced and sane…. But it is the essence of a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.”
    Substitute “the Bill Clinton presidency” (along with its healthy economy and budget surplusses) for “a period of stability which had seemed permanent” and you have an alarming, but all-too-real, picture of what awakening now must take place if we ever hope to straighten out our own threatening government, much less lecture to the Palestinians and Iraqis (who have no reason to believe us anyway) about a “democracy” we have shown no appetite for at home in our own looted land.

  13. Right Truth says:

    U.S. sanctions on Iranian organizations

    The United States is ready to place sanctions on Iranian organizations like the Revolutionary Guards, all individuals and organizations connected to Iran’s biological, nuclear, chemical programs, anyone or group connected to funding al-Qaeda, Hezbollah…

  14. Cloned Poster says:

    The fact that Hamas were ready for Dahlan and his “mercenary force” when they entered Gaza shows that they reach well into West Bank power.
    Also Israel gave them “transit” rights so they were behind this failed coup.
    Now that the WaPo is telling the truth for a change, I wonder if Baker-Hamilton are putting a squeeze on the MSN?

  15. jawbone says:

    Well, Trent, I for one would like to read what you can provide of the Stratfor article. If you’re still around….

  16. zanzibar says:

    Bush eyes Blair for ME peace role
    Blair would …. work on issues limited to the internal workings of a future Palestinian state. Political negotiations involving Palestinians, Israelis and the Arab states would be left to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
    Yup! Bush thinks the Palestinians need help on how to run their affairs and is going to dispatch Tony Blair to help them just after creating a debacle for the Brits in Iraq.

  17. Cloned Poster says:

    To: Posted by: Michael Murry | 20 June 2007 at 05:16 PM
    Great post, but Palestinians are jews Red Indians.

  18. Different Clue says:

    I have long been a worshipper at the Billmon-derided Church of the Two State Solution. But the Rightwing Israeli leadership
    makes that difficult.
    I think the Left-Right divide in Israel is pretty real. The Right was willing
    to manufacture a general climate of murderous civil hatred and sustain it until they could find and position
    their disposable Oswald to assassinate a non-Rightwing Prime Minister in order to derail Israel’s readiness to
    walk down the State of Palestine road. And given the Israeli Right’s revealed
    readiness to assassinate an Israeli Prime Minister, what
    else are they ready to do?
    Maybe Israel will have to
    have its own Civil War between Left and Right, with
    the Winner setting policy once and for all. If the Left were to win, we could work with it and everyone else there to move everyone to the Two Real and Viable State Solution. If the Right were to win, we would have to give up on Israel, I
    suppose. That would mean saving what we could save, which would mean, in practice, allowing carefully-vetted non-Rightwing Israelis to emigrate to the Wider World,
    while denying such avenue of
    escape to Right Wing Israelis. Perhaps such a visible brain-drain would scare the RightWing Israelis
    into accepting what Rabin was trying to move towards. If not, then their psycho-mental condition really is terminal, and we would have to start cutting links.
    One might well think of RightWing Israelis as the Milosevichian Serbs of the Middle East. For them the West Bank is littered with Kosovo Poljes, not one of which they wish to give up.
    But either SerbIsrael gives up Kosovastine, or SerbIsrael sees its social and political-economic viability nibbled away and eroded to zero over time.
    I personally would like to see Cooler Left Wing Heads prevail in Israel, and
    cram the Right Wing back into its “pig”. (“Pig”, a very thick-walled lead box for holding and transporting
    radioactive materials…)
    (By the way; I suspect, or at least I hope, that Barghouti is not in a “gulag”. Hopefully he is in a medium intensity prison
    at worst, and being treated well enough that he will not
    retreat into absolute and utter bitterness. Because if there is to be any ultimate hope of a real Two Viable State Solution, a proposed State of Palestine would have to be Real enough
    that Barghouti will be willing to emerge from prison to be its Prime Minister. In fact, my intuition, such as it is, tells me that someday that may be exactly what happens.
    A State of Lesser Israel and
    a State of Lesser Palestine under Prime Minister Barghouti.)

  19. FB Ali says:

    What has happened in Gaza is directly ascribable to the actions of the US and Israel. Whether they expected such an outcome (Got a Watch has posted Paul Woodward’s piece which claims that this was the intended result) or not, some such explosion was inevitable as a consequence of what they were doing to Gaza.
    Dr Eyad Sarraj, Director of the Gaza Community Health Program, in an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail on June 19, 2007 says :
    “Last year, I was among a small group of Palestinians that met Elliott Abrams, President George Bush’s deputy national security adviser. He was blunt that the Hamas government, which was democratically elected, must be pushed out at any cost. We’re not Hamas followers, but we tried to persuade him and other officials that engagement, rather than confrontation, is the better choice; but their determination was unshakable. We warned there would be suffering and starvation and even armed conflict, but to no avail. It wouldn’t be the fault of the U.S. if that happened, he said.
    The siege imposed on the Palestinians has been biting. Poverty has reached unprecedented levels, along with unemployment. According to the World Bank, 60 per cent of Palestinians live on less than $2 a day. Israel, which is in full control of all Gaza borders and its sea coast, intensified the blockade by curtailing Palestinians’ movement. At times, even fishing has been prohibited.
    Already overcrowded, lawlessness became rampant in Gaza. Kidnapping, theft and armed robbery have frightened everyone. Last week, my brother’s car was taken away at gunpoint. Many people have been forced to surrender their wallets or cellphones. Beggars roam the streets asking for money or bread. For more than 18 months, civil servants did not receive a salary, only parts of it every now and then. Municipal workers were given a bag of bread every day instead of their wages.
    The explosion was bound to happen, and the last straw came when the interior minister declared that he could not fulfill his duties and resigned. He blamed the obstructive attitude of Fatah’s director of preventive security”.

  20. Char;les says:

    Israel and its fellow conspirators – AIPAC/US/WINEP imagined they could set the two scorpions to fighting in their bottle – the Occupied Territories – and just sit back and reap the “gains” – a weakened victim providing cover for the continuation of their criminal program of chauvanism, expansion and hegemony. I’m sure they’re too stupid and besotted with their “religion” of existential threats and biblical entitlements to pull back now. But one of these cycles of manipulation and abuse of the captives – Israel has announced the cessation of fuel deliveries to Gaza while grandmothers seeking medical treatment languish between the walls of the Eretz crossing – the scorpion or both of will turn their furies exclusively to their tormentors. And one of those times WMD of some kind will make over the beach into Gaza and thence to Israel. The IDF can nuke Gaza, but the blowback will always blow back. Pathological.

  21. Montag says:

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Just before the election the U.S. and Israel pumped in a lot of money, etc. to try to bolster Fatah’s popularity and it didn’t work. The Palestinians may have even gotten the idea that they were being bribed.
    Ever hear the Greek myth about the giant Antaeus? Classic illustration of the power of grassroots organizing. Hercules is trying to kill Antaeus, but each time he throws him to the ground Antaeus rises up stronger than ever. Then ole Hercules buys a clue. Since the Earth is Mother to Antaeus he derives strength from her as long as he’s touching her. So Hercules hoists Antaeus up over his head and holds him there, until all of the strength drains from his body. Then Hercules strangles him.
    The moral is that when you move too far from your popular base you’re just making it easy to strangle your organization.

  22. ked says:

    “We warned there would be suffering and starvation and even armed conflict, but to no avail. It wouldn’t be the fault of the U.S. if that happened, he said.”
    The very expression of grandiose immorality, irresponsibility, sickness of the soul. These people will hang – in history, if nowhere else. I hope they live to experience it.

  23. Mo says:

    This whole get rid of Israels strong opponents policy by attacking HA and Hamas while simultaneously trying to bind the hands of their supporters in Iran and Syria really beguiles me.
    Colonel, I have stated here before and will say again, the strategy is obviously to weaken the Palestinians to the point where they have no defenders and no backers and appoint/support a leadership that will sign whatever is put on the table (and presumable the same goes for Lebanon).
    The obvious flaw in this strategy is that Palestine and Lebanon are not Jordan and Egypt. Signing peace treaties with Kings and dictators is good. Their armies are withdrawn and their intelligence services can “take care” of any dissenting voices. In Hamas and Hizballah, you have organisations that are individually stronger or as strong as the state. Even with treaties in place, what would the likes of Abbas, Dahlan, Siniora or Hariri be able to do to stop Meshaal and Nasrallah from carrying on the fight.
    As I have also said before, the road to peace in the Middle East does not go through “moderates”. Or at least not through what the Western world regards as moderates. They have neither the strength nor the credibility to deliver that peace. The road goes through Hamas and Hizballah because not only do they have both, but they also have the credibility of keeping to agreements – See the oft Israeli broken ceasefires with Hamas or the oft Israeli-broken agreements with Hizballah on the borders.
    One of my first posting on this site was a debate on the worth of a temporary hudna offered by Hamas to Israel. I stated then that in the Arab world temporary can be a very a long time. Had the Israelis accepted this, the net result would not be a peace treaty ( and a true peace treaty is a delusion) but peace. If the Palestinians got a state and started to see benefits (and lets face it, considering what they endure today, that wouldn’t be hard) that hudna could have gone on indefinitely.
    But the honest truth is that the Israelis want their settlements, want the water and want the continued US finiancial and military support.
    What they want from the Palestinians is not peace; what they want is surrender.

  24. zanzibar says:

    Israel wants surrender and Palestinians living in bantustans under complete Israeli control. A typical authoritarian policy. That’s not going to change until US policy changes which will not happen until the US elects leaders that are not beholden to AIPAC and the Likudniks. Unfortunately I don’t believe that will happen in my lifetime. The Likudnik lobby has developed a stranglehold over our politicians of both parties ever since the Eisenhower era came to an end. And I don’t see even the first crack of change in that iron grip. Even with the debacle in Iraq when there is a sane post-mortem the issue of Likudnik influence will not be addressed. The closest any politician came was Howard Dean in the last primary stating that we needed an even handed approach to the ME and you know what they did to him.

  25. arbogast says:

    Beautifully written.
    Based on expertise far beyond anything anyone can challenge in the United States.
    It is my opinion that Alan Greenspan kept interest rates so low for so long for two reasons: to finance the Iraq war and to ensure that when all the “asset” bubbles burst, the US would face decades of high interest rates that would help to “kill the beast” in Grover Norquist’s terms: rid the US of any social security infrastructure at all (SS, Medicare, etc.)
    Interestingly, the coincidence of the debacle in Iraq with the debacle in the “asset” markets may make his machinations backfire.
    What is certain is that Iran is growing stronger every day, and the “Arab street” is becoming more uneasy with its lordotic leadership every day.

  26. Cloned Poster says:

    What is commonly heard in courts around the world is that the victim of abuse becomes the self same abuser. And then they have the gall to use that in their defence, which mostly arises in child abuse cases.
    The Brits have been brilliant in their post-empire planning with Balfour getting a gilt edge gaurantee of turmoil, and US of A rolling the dollars and Paul Newman thereafter.
    It’s a pity that current US/UK admin have the collective IQ of a cabbage, but as the old adage goes, it’s usually the 3rd generation that drinks and pisses the family wealth away.

  27. Montag says:

    What gets me is how many otherwise rational people can’t understand that allowing Israel to occupy and annex ANY land by force is “appeasement” just as if the action had been taken by Hitler. Once you give up that principle you revert to the law of the jungle, in which you only have security if you are one of the tigers.
    Buried in the news is the meeting between the Moroccan government and representatives of the Sahrawi. Morocco unilaterally invaded and annexed the former Spanish Sahara in 1975 and the inhabitants fought a guerrilla war until 1991, when they accepted an Armistice. But since then the Moroccans have stalled any resolution of the issue, insisting that the only possible solution will be to give the Sahwari semi-autonomous status WITHIN Morocco. In any referendum on the future status of the territory the Moroccans insist that independence NOT be an option on the ballot.
    The sad thing is that the Sahrawi and their resistance organization Polisario have never resorted to terrorism and have done everything the UN has asked them to. They accept proposals while the Moroccans stonewall them. I guess the Moroccans figure that if the Israelis have gotten away with it they can too. The Sahrawi have become so frustrated that they’re considering ending the Armistice. Of course the Israelis keep putting out their same old line that if only the Palestinians would lay down their arms and hold their mouths just right they’d get a state of their own. Sure, that could happen!

  28. buzz meeks says:

    Perhaps all the network pundit pronouncements and editorials of the “leading” newspapers, NY Pravda and Potomac Pravda, should have a leader or trailer advising that “the following message has been bought and paid for by AIPAC and the state of Israel”.
    Might help some folks make sense of what passes for new s in this country.
    Buzz Meeks

  29. david says:

    Well said, Mo. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but it seems to me that the long-term cost of maintaining Israel’s peace with Jordan and Egypt is unsustainable. On the other side of that coin, Israel would seemingly do well for itself by coming to terms with groups like Hamas and Hizbullah, as they do not face a permanent and expensive illegitimacy deficit, a hole that the US seeks to fill with financial, political and military aid.
    I believe that we can now say that the US idea that creating and sustaining Israel’s uber-deterence over its neighbors as a means towards peace is a failed policy. The only question is, for me, at least, whether that policy will have a hard or soft landing. Similar dynamics are at work in Iraq.
    If the economics are not right, and here they are not right, the household will not survive. That being said, it is hard to imagine that any government is capable of long-term strategic planning. Instead it seems that only a crisis of the highest order will bring attention to the need for a new strategy. Of course, at what point is it too late? I know such apocalyptic warnings have a distinct pedigree in the Middle East, but I really think we have begun to see the plates begin to shift.
    Ironically, I believe it is only Israel that will be capable of understanding and responding to this shift. In other words, we will know the era of American supremacy in the Middle East is over when Israel begins to break away from its American anchor.
    Even more ironically, this break will likely occur when the volume of the champions of the “special relationship” between the US and Israel is at its loudest. That some in Israel are calling for a US-strike on Iran is telling in untold ways, i.e. we are nearing a very serious crisis point in the decades-old strategic relationship.

  30. eaken says:

    no surprise but thought i’d mention.,7340,L-3415479,00.html
    those of us who want change in policy are as helpless as many of those palestinians stuck in the middle

  31. Different Clue says:

    Part of AIPAC’s apparent power may be due to a lack of countervailing lobby groups counterpulling in other directions. Is it really so hard to set such groups up? And give them creative catch names?
    There are pro Lesser Israel Jews who would like to see a real State of Palestine emerge on par with a State of Israel. Why don’t they form an American Lesser Israel Public Affairs Committee (ALIPAC)?
    There are Accepters of Lesser Israel from all kinds
    of backgrounds who would like to see a State of Palestine as well. They could call themselves Friends of Israel For Palestine (FOIFP) or Friends
    of Lesser Israel For Palestine (FOLIFP).
    What if American Muslims were to form the American Muslim Public Affairs Committee (AMuslimPAC)? What if supporters of Palestine were to form the American Palestine Public Affairs Committee (APalPAC)?
    ” Come on, be a pal. Join APalPAC.”
    I may be sounding silly, but sometimes the right clever acronym can break a conceptual logjam in the minds of many. And these groups, should they emerge, could study AIPAC’s methods, and adopt them.
    Meanwhile, if any center-to-left Peace Camp Truce Camp Israelis are reading this, they might ask themselves: if Israel extracted zero water from Gaza or the West Bank, and if every inhabitant of Israel Proper used exactly the same amount of water per
    capita, how much water would every inhabitant of Israel Proper be using? And
    the Peace Camp Israelis could put themselves on a personal per capita water ration of exactly what that amount would be, to demonstrate that it can be done, and try to win over the rest of Israel to a concept of life-on-restricted-water-rations as a trade-off for a longterm Truce or even a Cold Peace.
    Envision the material side of life without the territories, and live that way now.

  32. Mo says:

    Different Clue,
    The great big elephant never discussed in road maps and peace deals – The Israelis left Gaza because the Aquifer there became polluted. The West Bank and Golan aquifers (as well as the water in the Shebaa farms) supplies a good deal of their water now. Asking them to give them up completely is a showstopper and they are already changing “the facts on the ground” to make sure “the wall” goes into the West Bank to encompass many of the water sources. The amount of water they would be left with would not sustain a nation. In fact, even with all the water they currenty have access to, they are on a precipice and one or two aquifer pollution incidents away from a threat far greater and far more existential than Hamas and Hizballah combined.
    Hence, they will never surrender the water and won’t sign a treaty until they have a Palestinian leader who is willing to sign that water away (esp. now they know they are not getting their hands on the Litani anytime soon).

  33. Montag says:

    Yeah, the Dead Sea is drying up! Of course Jordan and Syria contribute to the lack of water running into it, but Israel has been subsidizing waterhog agriculture in a big way. The Dead Sea has been losing 3 feet of level every year. Now dangerous sinkholes are suddenly appearing in the surrounding land. They’re even considering digging a canal from the Gulf of Aqaba to try to save it.

  34. different clue says:

    Good point, Mo.
    That is why I suggested that Peace-Wing Israelis practice life on a water diet. If they could model an okay lifestyle on low water inputs, they could bring along the mushy majority, if there is one.
    And if Israel could transform the water-hog aspects of its agriculture into water-camel aspects, Israel would enable itself to address the polluted gaza
    aquifer by depolluting the aquifer.
    How? Well, since the pollution is due to saltwater intrusion into the
    aquifer caused bu excessive water extraction from the aquifer, the obvious answer would be to run the process backwards. Bring fresh water to gaza and inject it into key parts of the aquifer while pumping the brackish water out of other key parts of the aquifer. And sending it back to the sea from whence it came. That would de-salinate and refreshen the Gaza aquifer.
    Mainstream agriculture is
    water-hogish all over the world. It shows up as a problem first in water-restricted regions like Israel, Palestine, etc. first. I have read that some Israeli agriculture is water-frugal. Drip Irrigation was said to have been invented in Israel, though I would be interested
    to hear if someone else invented it elsewhere first.
    So there is that to build on.
    Eventually, the whole Middle East will be so water-short that everyone there will have to address water-hog agriculture. Eventually they may have to stop growing dates, which are one of the water-hoggest
    plants there is. Every date
    palm pours water into the air almost like an open fire

  35. BG says:

    HAMAS was initially supported by Israel to contain Fatah and now look what they got in hand..
    u cannot deny the fact that Palestinian people chose Hamas instead of Fatha, we may have our opinions about Hamas but if u want democracy then u have respect what the people have decided. since US is so addicted to having their way, no wonder the country now supports dictatorship more than ever before..Pakistan, China,Vietnam,Nepal,Saudi Arabia and the list goes on..and u wonder why the editorial was published in WaPo..
    middle east desk,the newsroom

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