With the installation of the new Palestinian government
, the shape of things to come is evident, and it also reveals, to an extent, the shape of things past. The US will not deal with the government, but they will deal with non-Hamas officials in the government. Actually, it is not a new attitude, but a continuation of the old one. What changed of course, is that whereas before, the US was trying to bolster the stand of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas against the Hamas, now that Abbas has caved in, to all appearances, to Hamas conditions, it is not clear why the US continues to support him as if nothing happened. A gambler admitted that a game was rigged. He was asked why then, if he knew the game was rigged, he continues to play. "It's the only game in town." Abbas, as far as the Americans are concerned, is the only game in town.
For the Europeans, it is different. They are now ready to deal with Palestinian officials and also to give them money. That means they can effectively end their supposed funding boycott of the Hamas, since Salam Fayyad, who is in charge of finances, is not a member of the Hamas. Actually, we learn that in the past year, the EU already increased their aid to the Palestinians over previous years. That was the reward that the Palestinians got for electing the Hamas. European governments are now anxious to do business with the newly respectable government.
Let us see what they got in return:
* The Hamas executive force was not disbanded and will be used to ensure their continued "democratic" hold on Palestinian politics, by force.
* The new government has vowed to continue "resistance"
in all its forms, and to insist on right of return of Palestinian refugees.
* The Hamas not declared its willingness to recognize Israel, ever. On the contrary, it has often reiterated that it will never recognize Israel.
* A serious military infrastructure is being built in Gaza: underground fortifications, anti-tank weapons, mines, probably a few tricks we haven't heard about yet. That is what is being done with the aid received to date.
* Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still in the hands of the Hamas.
The European money, to be sure, will go to Salam Fayyad, and Fayyad will account for every Euro no doubt. It will not be used to buy arms, but money, as James Baker III pointed out, is fungible. Each public servant who is paid will be grateful to the Hamas, and each television program that calls on Palestinians to destroy Israel and America will be funded by the Europeans. Each school that teaches that the Jews are the root of all evil. The bombs that will explode in Israel and the rockets that will be launched will not, it is true, be funded by the Europeans. They will be "donated" by the Iranians and the funding of the Gulf states. However, the entire infrastructure that makes it possible to manufacture, transport and launch weapons, and to assemble suicide bombs and mount attacks will be financed by the Europeans: that includes paying for fuel for electricity to run lathes, paying for electric generation plants, paying the bill for cellular networks that allow communication of orders and perhaps detonation of the weapons, paying for the vehicles that transport the weapons and the fuel for those vehicles, and supporting all the dependents of those engaged in this admirable humanitarian activity. And, as in many cases, the terrorists have a "day job" as Palestinian policemen, the salaries of the terrorists may be paid by EU as well.
Surely, European countries would be outraged if Israel or the United States were supporting terror and incitement against them, yet Israel must cordially and gratefully greet European diplomats and listen respectfully to their advice.
Mr Abbas remarked that the Palestinians are extending a hand of peace on the occasion of the Palestinian national wedding. His metaphors are almost apt. After all, we all know what happens to the bride on the wedding night. There is no doubt what happened to Abbas, whose Fatah movement has lost virtually all its power and influence. The Palestinians are not extending a hand to Israel, they are, rather, giving us the finger.
The Palestinians were certainly right, from their point of view, to form a unity government. Israel faces a virtually impossible situation. Avigdor Lieberman is equally right in calling for a Zionist unity government
. As long as fringe parties are on the outside they will all whine either that the government should have wiped out the Palestinians in some impossible military adventure, as Yuval Steinitz suggests, or that the government must immediately give in to Palestinian conditions. Inside the government, things will look different. As Lyndon Johnson said, "better to have them inside the tent..." Ami Isseroff
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