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Friday, June 22, 2007

One chance too many for Abu Mazen

In this morning's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer does a great job of nailing Hamas:
The policy implications are obvious. There is nothing to do with the self-proclaimed radical Islamist entity that is Gaza but to isolate it. No recognition, no aid (except humanitarian necessities through the United Nations), no diplomatic commerce.

Israel now has the opportunity to establish deterrence against unremitting rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli villages. Israel failed to do that after it evacuated Gaza in 2005, permitting the development of an unprecedented parasitism by willingly supplying food, water, electricity and gasoline to a territory that was actively waging hostilities against it.

With Hamas now clearly in charge, Israel should declare that it will tolerate no more rocket fire -- that the next Qassam will be answered with a cutoff of gasoline shipments. This should bring road traffic in Gaza to a halt within days and make it increasingly difficult to ferry around missiles and launchers.

If that fails to concentrate the mind, the next step should be to cut off electricity. When the world wails, Israel should ask, what other country on Earth is expected to supply the very means for a declared enemy to attack it?
But he goes far too easy on 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, giving him yet another 'last chance' in the finest tradition of Abu Mazen's boss Yasser Arafat. Krauthammer admits Abu Mazen's flaws:
But let's remember who Abbas is. He appears well intentioned, but he is afflicted with near-disastrous weaknesses. He controls little. His troops in Gaza simply collapsed against the greatly outnumbered forces of Hamas. His authority in the West Bank is far from universal. He does not even control the various factions within Fatah.

But the greater liability is his character. He is weak and indecisive. When he was Yasser Arafat's deputy, Abbas was known to respond to being slapped down by his boss by simply disappearing for weeks in a sulk. During the battle for Gaza, he did not order his Fatah forces to return fire against the Hamas insurrection until the fight was essentially over. Remember, too, that after Arafat's death Abbas ran the Palestinian Authority without a Hamas presence for more than a year. Can you name a single thing he achieved in that time?

Moreover, his Fatah party is ideologically spent and widely discredited. Historian Michael Oren points out that the Palestinian Authority has received more per capita aid than did Europe under the Marshall Plan. This astonishing largess has disappeared into lavish villas for party bosses and guns for the multiple militias Arafat established.
But Krauthammer can't bring himself to admit that Abu Mazen isn't the answer and that there is no 'Palestinian' address that is credibly interested in and willing to work and compromise for peace.

Soccer Dad, who apparently has been spending too much time reading my blog (to the point where he predicts what I will say - we go back thirty years or so) nails Abu Mazen:

No choice? His sole qualification for any sort of consideration is that he's not Hamas. But even if Fatah isn't explicit in its ideology, its ideology is no different from that of Hamas. Michael Oren, whom Krauthammer quotes (favorably) wrote earlier this week

Though Fatah originally aspired to replace Israel with a secular, democratic state in Palestine, the organization refashioned itself in 1990s as an Islamic movement, embracing the lexicon of jihad. Hundreds of mosques were built with public funds, and imams were hired to spread the message of martyrdom and the hatred of Christians and Jews. These themes became the staple of the official PA media, inciting the suicide bombings that began in 2000 and poisoning an entire generation of Palestinian youth. Ironically, the Islamization of Fatah legitimized Hamas and contributed to the cadres of religious extremists who are now defying its authority.

In addition to its fiscal malfeasance and Islamic radicalism, Fatah has never fulfilled its pledges to crack down on terror. Though Mahmoud Abbas routinely criticizes Palestinian terrorist attacks as "contrary to the Palestinian national interest" -- not an affront to morality and international law -- he has never disavowed the al-Aqsa Brigades, a Fatah affiliate responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks against Israeli civilians.

Soccer Dad then does a great job of summing up why there is not - and will not be for the foreseeable future - anyone interested in peace on the 'Palestinian' side:
The problem is that Palestinian nationalism is, at its core, not a national liberation movement for Palestinians but a movement of national destruction for Israel. But like the folks of Washington did for Chauncy Gardiner the world has ascribed a quality (in this case nobility) to Palestinian nationalism that is non-existent. It was never about nation building. It was never about the the common folk, it was for the benefit of the elites.
And about Arab 'honor' and avenging the 'naqba' (catastrophe) of 1948.


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