Let Hamas rule
From Confused on Hamas, Editorial Washington Post, February 18, 2006
Another is the temptation of the Bush administration to join with Israel, which is lukewarm about Arab democracy, and Egypt, which is doing its best to prevent one from emerging in Cairo, to strip Hamas of its victory or force it out of office. The three governments have been consulting about ways to bolster secular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and push him into a confrontation with the Islamists. This week the outgoing Palestinian legislature voted to hand the president extensive new powers, and Mr. Abbas himself has asserted his control over the security forces and media. While some of the maneuvering may be permitted by the Palestinian constitution, the Bush administration will destroy its larger democracy policy if it is seen to conspire with Israel and Arab autocrats to reverse the outcome of one of the freest elections in Arab history. Letting Hamas rule and be judged by Palestinians on its results will require more patience. But it is also more likely to bring about, in the long run, a Palestinian government that the world can welcome.
From Hamas at the helm, Editorial, New York Times, February 2, 2006
So far, the Bush administration has made the right moves. The statement issued earlier this week by the so-called quartet of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia calls for Hamas to ”be committed to nonviolence, recognize Israel and accept the previous agreements and commitments,” like the Oslo accords and the ”road map” peace plan, which calls for dismantling of armed groups like, well, Hamas. That’s a good start. The quartet also stopped short of immediately cutting off aid to the Palestinians, which would undoubtedly serve to push the Palestinians further into the arms of Iran. Presumably that decision can be made later — when a Hamas-dominated government is formed.
The United States should continue to press Israel to hand over the $50 million a month in tax and customs receipts it collects for the Palestinian Authority, if for no other reason than this is money that belongs to the Palestinians. The acting Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, may be trying to win an election by appearing tough, but pouring gas over an inflamed situation is not the way to go.
From Hamas rules, Editorial, Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2006
The White House will have to resist the temptation, no doubt encouraged by Europe, to pressure Israel to deal with Hamas as it once was pressed to deal with Arafat. But given Hamas’s history and declared goals, the onus is on its leaders to show that they have an agenda beyond terror. If Hamas begins to use Gaza as a base to import weapons and attack Israel, the Jewish state will have every right to strike back in self-defense. And the U.S. should support it in doing so.
It’s always possible that the burden of responsibility will over time make Hamas a less radical movement. If it remains rejectionist and bent only on war with Israel, then the Palestinians will sour on its rule in any case. Perhaps then average Palestinians will conclude they have no choice but to co-exist with Israel if they want a better life. The obligation of the U.S. is to make it clear to Hamas, and to all Palestinians, that there is no future in terror.
From U.S. State Department strengthening Hamas by Khaled Abu Toameh, October 25, 2012
The emir’s visit also means that the Gaza Strip has become a separate Palestinian entity that has no link to the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority, and which is capable of conducting its running its own economy and foreign policy.
The visit has actually solidified the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, turning Abbas’s effort to establish an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines into a fantasy; if he tried to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank alone, would be accused of “abandoning” the dream of creating a full, united, Palestinian state, and of dividing Palestine into two states.
None of the newspapers that pronounced judgment on the new Hamas government has seen fit to comment on this week’s escalation by Hamas and the visit of the Qatari emir yet. The Wall Street Journal then, realized that if Hamas would continue engaging in terror Israel would be justified in defending its population. However neither the Washington Post, which hailed “one of the freest elections in Arab history” nor the New York Time, which called on Israel not to pressure the new Palestinian government were supportive of Israel when it fought back against Hamas in Cast Lead. Now that Hamas has strengthened to the point that it makes the “two state solution,” that both papers advocate, nearly impossible, both are silent.
Arguably allowing Hamas to gain power nearly seven years ago was one of the most disastrous actions taken in the Middle East. (And as Efraim Halevy pointed out this week, the Bush administration was guilty here too.)
Many people and institutions are eager to tell Israel what it’s doing wrong. Those same folks are silent when their own positions are proven wrong.