"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