The collapse of the Fatah movement in Gaza is widely being blamed on the ineffectiveness of the Abbas government. Lost in reporting the disaster which has resulted in establishing a terrorist government on Israel’s border is the real story of one Israeli blunder after one American blunder in the region. Israel and the United States must accept partial responsibility for the Hamas victory in Gaza.
In February, the Saudi government negotiated a compromise between Hamas and Fath under which Hamas surrendered control over posts in the Interior, Finance, and Foreign Affairs departments. It was assumed giving up these positions would enable Abbas to convince Israel to end the economic blockade which has cut off funds to his government. All for nought. Israel, at the urging of the Bush administration, refused to end the economic blockade. The result was lack of funds for Abbas to deal with economic chaos or to obtain arms and ammunition for his security forces. Each time there is a glimmer of opening by an Arab leader, Israel shuts the door to wild cheers from the American government. We now have the results of this inept, confused, and aimless Israel-American leadership — Hamas controls trhe Gaza Strip.
Writing in the Lebanon Daily Star, Daoud Kuttab argues there can be no peace in the region until Israel and the United States support efforts of moderates to succeed. Support must include economic and militarya ssistance since speeches don’t provide a weapon for use by Fatah security forces. It’s time to cease posturing and begin acting.