Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Hamas Delusion


Jimmy Carter is in Damascus today and had the following to say after his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and before checking in with Hamas head Khalid Mishal:
"I don't believe there is any possibility to have peace between the Palestinians and Israel unless Hamas is involved directly in harmony with Fatah.

"My own preference is for the United States government to find a way at a very [early] date to have direct discussions with the Hamas leadership.

"The first step has to be reconciliation between the Palestinian leaders to have a stable foundation to negotiate effectively with the Israeli leaders.

"I will be discussing with [Hamas] if they are willing to make the commitments for peaceful relations with Israel in the future and accept the overall requirements for peace and accommodation."
This is all silliness. The only terms under which Hamas would agree to any sort of "harmony" with Fatah is if such an agreement were to extend the Islamists' power and legitimacy. If Fatah does agree to such a settlement, it will mean that its leadership has effectively surrendered. In any case, any Fatah-Hamas reunion is not in Israel's interest nor in that of the U.S. At least not as long as we are talking about the same Hamas that exists today.

Hamas today derives its power from Syrian and Iranian money, training and weapons, and from its security organization in Gaza. Its legitimacy in Palestinian society is based on its religious vision, social welfare organizations, electoral success, and its uncompromising stance against Israel, which it has demonstrated with its successful terrorist attacks. Neither its bases of legitimacy nor its sources of power make a rapprochement with Israel at all likely. Hamas is therefore irrelevant to a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It thus has very little to offer to the U.S. The U.S., like Israel, would do much better to focus on the West Bank, at least as long as Fatah maintains power there.

In the meantime, Israel will probably have to live with Gaza being ruled by Hamas. Unfortunately, the scenarios in which Hamas might be removed from power are limited to the following,
  1. internal revolt
  2. military defeat of Hamas as political and security force
  3. end of sponsorship by Iran and Syria
none of which will take place any time soon.


Charlie H. Ettinson said...

Then, if we assume that Gaza will be part of a Palestinian state, and Gaza is ruled by Hamas, wouldn't it follow that since the PA is the only party with whom Israel can deal, a Palestinian state cannot exist in the West Bank and Gaza without whomever rules Gaza being on board. In this case Hamas.
I would agree that Hamas's ideology makes them more or less impossible for Israel to deal with. The problem then, is, what should be done to ensure that Gaza does not become the Taiwan on the middle east?

Nobody said...

I think the more burning issue is what should be done to prevent Gaza from being replayed in the West Bank. It seems there is a tentative consensus among informed observers that if free elections were held today in Egypt and Jordan, they would have brought to power local varieties of Muslim Brothers. Similar situation may exist in other Arab countries.

What should be done depends on the situation. In some countries gerrymandering of voting districts and keeping thousands of Muslim Brothers in jail seem to do the trick. In other countries more extreme measures were required. Syria for example have preferred to flatten a whole city on one occasion. Algeria opted for a civil war in which 200,000 died. In short, there is no shortage of methods. You choose.

Nobody said...


Don't miss this one...

:D :D

Nobody said...

And this is what I call good stuff (Syria)