How to cope with this? How to respond?
Every rational analysis leads to the same conclusion: pumping money and arms into Fatah in Judea and Samaria now, requiring of Israel additional concessions that weaken security, pretending that Abbas is “moderate” and a “partner for peace” are simply ways of inviting more violence, more difficulty for Israel and the US. These measures would solve no problems.
And yet, this is the direction that President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert took in their meeting in Washington today. Olmert said he would do his best to work with Abbas, while Bush expressed a desire to strengthen Abbas as a step towards reaching the goal of a “two-state solution. “
Ask yourself what Abbas has actually done to merit assistance. And then ponder the question of how turning Judea and Samaria over to Fatah would yield more positive results than turning Gaza over to Fatah did. Ask yourself if Fatah is capable of establishing a civil society at all.
As to that “two state” solution: it is a chimera and not more. Precisely which “two states” would there be? The Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria AND Gaza were envisioned as a Palestinian state. The “second” state alongside Israel. But now Hamas is referred to as Hamastan, and the Palestinian state, under the vaunted leadership of Abbas, is envisioned for Judea and Samaria only. But Abbas still says he is president of all of the Palestinians, including those in Gaza. And Haniyeh, erstwhile Hamas prime minister of the PA, says that Abbas’s voiding of the unity government accord is not legitimate and that Hamas has an electoral mandate; Hamas, which will not let go, is calling for “dialogue with Fatah.
And so — please! — good people. If you are an American citizen, make your voice heard. Let President Bush know that his present approach is a recipe only for disaster. And pass this message to everyone you can think of who might do the same.
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment line: 202-456-1111
TTY/TDD Comment line: 202-456-6213.
I remind you that a letter is most effective — snail mail or faxed, and e-mail least effective. Act to the best of your ability.
Keep your message brief and to the point. It is essential to focus on US interests , not on Israel. And, in truth, US interests are very much at risk with current policies. See below.
I provide here several sources that will give you a solid perspective and that you might draw upon in appealing to the president:
Fouad Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has written (“Brothers to the bitter end.”) in The New York Times today (emphasis added).
“So the masked men of Fatah have the run of the West Bank while the masked men of Hamas have their dominion in Gaza . Some see this as a tolerable situation, maybe even an improvement, envisioning a secularist Fatah-run state living peacefully alongside Israel and a small, radical Gaza hemmed in by Israeli troops. It’s always tempting to look for salvation in disaster, but in this case it’s sheer fantasy.
“It isn’t a pretty choice, that between Hamas and Fatah …We must not overdo the distinction between the ‘secularism’ of Fatah and the Islamism of Hamas. In the cruel streets and refugee camps of the Palestinians, this is really a distinction without a difference.
“It is idle to think that Gaza could be written off as a Hamas dominion while Fatah held its own in the towns of the West Bank . The abdication and the anarchy have damaged both Palestinian realms. Nablus in the West Bank is no more amenable to reason than is Gaza ; the writ of the pitiless preachers and gunmen is the norm in both places.
There is no way that a normal world could be had in the West Bank while Gaza goes under.”
JINSA has written a “Message to the President”(emphasis added):
“Mr. President, in the interest of the Palestinian people , please withdraw formal American support for an independent Palestinian state. There are people in the region who have staked everything on you and still look to you for moral clarity. Israel and Jordan are the friends of American interests that the Palestinians never wanted to be, and they need your help to undo the damage the notion of an independent Palestine has done.
“On 24 June 2002, you offered a creative blueprint for Palestinian nationalism…Yours was an ‘if-when-then’ plan. IF Palestinian leaders created civic space, transparent institutions and consensual government, and ‘WHEN the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements,’ THEN the U.S. ‘will support the creation of a Palestinian state…’ You promised, ‘A Palestinian state will never be created by terror.’
“But you made the unwarranted assumption that Palestinian leaders WANTED to create a government in service of their people…You were wrong. But instead of calling it off, you kept lowering the bar for them. You…offered money and American military training to the corrupt forces of the corrupt Abu Mazen…You ignored Jew-hatred in Palestinian institutions. You knew perfectly well that elections are the last stage of democratic evolution but you pushed for early elections that included not only corrupt secularist terrorists, but Iranian-sponsored religious terrorists as well. There was no reform, no transparency, and no peace BECAUSE THE PALESTINIANS NEVER WANTED PEACE OR CLEAN GOVERNMENT – THEY WANTED PALESTINE IN THEIR IMAGE, NOT YOURS. They got it…
“The bar can’t get any lower. The Palestinians failed to meet a single requirement for American diplomatic, security and financial support. Understand it and move on. Gaza is gone but the West Bank remains crucial…
“The last, best hope for West Bank Palestinians now is some form of confederation of territory, people and security forces between Israel and Jordan …”
Caroline Glick has written (“Grounded in Fantasy”) in The Jerusalem Post today:
“Iran and its client state Syria have a strategic vision for the Middle East . They wish to take over Lebanon . They wish to destroy Israel . They wish to defeat the US in Iraq . They wish to drive the US and NATO from Afghanistan . They wish to dominate the region by driving the rest of the Arab world to its jihad-supporting knees. Then they wish to apply their vision to th
e rest of the world.
“Today, Syria and Iran are ardently advancing their strategic vision for the world through a deliberate strategy of victory by a thousand cuts. Last week’s Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip; Sunday’s reopening of the Lebanese front against Israel with the Syrian-ordered rocket attacks on Kiryat Shemona; the now five-week old Syrian ordered low-intensity warfare against Lebanon’s pro-Western Siniora government; last week’s attack on the al-Askariya mosque in Samarra; the recent intensification of terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran’s move to further destabilize the country by violently deporting 100,000 Afghan refugees back to the war-torn country – all of these are moves to advance this clear Iranian-Syrian strategy.
“And all these moves have taken place against the backdrop of Syria’s refashioning of its military in the image of Hizbullah on steroids and Iran’s relentless, unopposed progress in its nuclear weapons program.
“For their part, both the US and Israel also have a strategic vision. Unfortunately, it is grounded in fantasy…
“WASHINGTON and Jerusalem wish to solve all the problems of the region and the world by establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza , Judea , Samaria and Jerusalem . While Israel now faces Iranian proxies on two fronts, in their meeting at the White House today US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will gush about their support for Palestinian statehood…
“Olmert and Bush claim that by backing Abbas militarily, financially and politically they will be setting up an ‘alternative Palestine ’ which will rival Hamas’s jihadist Palestine . As this notion has it, envious of the good fortune of their brethren in Judea and Samaria , Gazans will overthrow Hamas and the course will be set for peace – replete with the ethnic cleansing of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem of all Jewish presence.
“By denying that the war against Israel is related to the war in Iraq ; by ignoring the strategic links between all the Iranian and Syrian sponsored theaters of war, Bush views gambling with Israel ‘s security as a win-win situation. He will be applauded as a champion of peace and if the chips go down on Israel , well, it won’t be Americans being bombed.
“…ISRAEL HAS arguably never faced a more dangerous strategic environment than it faces today. Yet it is not without good options. It can retake control over the Gaza-Sinai border. It can renew its previously successful tactic of killing Hamas terrorists. It can continue its successful campaign of keeping terrorists down in Judea and Samaria , and it can continue preparing for war in the north…But today both Bush and Olmert will reject these options in favor of mindless peace process prattle. They will reject reality as they uphold Abbas as a credible leader and shower him with praise, money and arms…And they will be guaranteeing war that will claim the lives of an unknown number of Israeli civilians and soldiers.”
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Herzliya Center , wrote yesterday:
“Hamas’ seizure of the Gaza Strip opens a new period in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East in general. Have no doubt: nothing will be the same. A new Islamist state is being established and it bodes no good for Western interests or regional stability…
“So let’s get this straight: there is no near-term solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, there is no Palestinian side with whom a compromise agreement can be negotiated….
“There are several key policy conclusions to be drawn from the Hamas triumph. First, Western and especially U.S. policy must get beyond an obsession with solving this conflict. It is going to go on for decades…
“Second, since Palestinian politics have clearly returned to the pre-1993 era, so must Western and U.S. policy. This means no Western aid and no diplomatic support for the Palestinians until their leaders change policies. The Palestinian movement can only earn financial help and political backing on that very distant day when it accepts Israel’s right to exist, stops endorsing and using terrorism, and is serious about negotiating a real, compromise two-state solution.
“Third, it is time to support Israel proudly and fully. Now that it is clear Israel has done everything possible for peace–taking great risks in doing so–and has no such alternative, the rationale for Israel’s behavior must be vindicated. The idea that even-handed, confidence-building behavior can broker peace is simply and fully, though regrettably, dead.
“…there are wider strategic implications for U.S. and Western interests in this dramatic, though predictable, development. The radical forces have gained a major new asset which will encourage the recruitment of new cadre. Iran, Syria, and Hizballah will grow more confident and aggressive.
“It should be clearer than ever that we are now in the middle of the third great battle with totalitarianism in living memory. As with the struggles against fascism and communism, this conflict can only be won by a mobilization of Western resources and resolve…”