Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HAMAS AND THE WEST....I'm confused. The New York Times says that Israel, the U.S., and Europe are trying to figure out ways to bring down the newly elected Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority:

The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

....The officials said the destabilization plan centers largely on money. The Palestinian Authority has a monthly cash deficit of some $60 million to $70 million after it receives between $50 million and $55 million a month from Israel in taxes and customs duties collected by Israeli officials at the borders but owed to the Palestinians.

Israel says it will cut off those payments once Hamas takes power, and put the money in escrow. On top of that, some of the aid that the Palestinians currently receive will be stopped or reduced by the United States and European Union governments, which will be constrained by law or politics from providing money to an authority run by Hamas.

But then, coming out of nowhere, is this sentence:

The United States and the European Union in particular want any failure of Hamas in leadership to be judged as Hamas's failure, not one caused by Israel and the West.

There is no further explanation of this sentence, which seems to have no relationship to anything that comes before or after it. But if Israel and the West plan to cut off the bulk of the PA's income, how can they possibly believe that Hamas's failure won't be seen as being caused by Israel and the West? Any guesses?

Kevin Drum 11:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

This is the standard operating procedure of this and every other US administration since McKinley. The Phillipines, Cuba -twice, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela, now Palestine. Democracy is just another name for US hegemony to our leaders. When these countries try to act independently in their best interests, they must be destabilized so another group of puppets can be installed.

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Yes.

Pure assertion.

Posted by: obscure on February 13, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

"The United States and the European Union in particular want any failure of Hamas in leadership to be judged as Hamas's failure, not one caused by Israel and the West."

That's NYT codespeak for "the Bushies want to keep all of their official efforts to sabotage a disturbing but nonetheless fledgling democracy on the down low."

Posted by: one on February 13, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

But if Israel and the West plan to cut off the bulk of the PA's income, how can they possibly believe that Hamas's failure won't be seen as being caused by Israel and the West? Any guesses?

The same way they do everything else - repeat their story in the media blaming Hamas over and over, and whenever anybody objects, stand up in unison and yell at the top of their lungs that they must hate America.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 13, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Any guesses?

They do not care what we believe.

Posted by: pebird on February 13, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Are we really sure that the rest of the Arab/Islamic world could not come up with $50m/month or so to prevent collapse. I'm not sure we want to incite a sort of mass 'hunger strike' by the Palestinians in an attempt to keep the government they elected.

Posted by: otto on February 13, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm assuming your question is rhetorical? Think of it like "we relied on good solid intelligence" or wanting to wean us from fossil fuels, or we want to retain the right to torture, which we never do, because it's essential to fighting the War on Terror.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 13, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT is liberal?

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Look. Being Jewish, I really hate to say this, but its so obvious. Its really very very simple, although I know everyone will howl and scream and deny that it just isn't true:

An official "speaking on condition of anonymity" tells the NY Times that the US is planning on bringing down Hamas. Then, a few paragraphs later, says that they're planning to blame it on Hamas.

Its not a leak, its the message. The US Gov't is saying, in a deniable way, to the American Jewish community: We know we screwed up, we know its scary, we're taking care of it in a way that won't make any of us look bad.

And how will they accomplish this? Exactly as dr sardonicus says. Volume, repetition, media complacence and smearing critics as anti-American or anti-Semitic.

Its money in the bank that the same reporter gets another unattributable quote from the same source when Hamas fall apart to the effect of: "well, clearly Hamas was incapable of actually running a government. off the record: did you know we actually offered them a deal and they turned it down. what crazies!"

Posted by: soylent green on February 13, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a member of the ACLU, as liberal as they come, and I'm an ardent Zionist who has deplored the rightward turn Israel has taken since Rabin was assassinated. But come on, now. Sending Israeli collected tax money to Hamas would be like my having to fund the Nazi Party if it took over my local or state government.

We're not talking about a difference of opinion between Israel and Hamas on policy issues; we're talking about an organization they blows up innocent human beings, and if they had nukes, wouldn't hesitate a moment in vaporizing every Jew in Israel.

So for me this whole issue is a non-starter. As long as Israel isn't stupid enough to continue feeding the insurgency with violent reprisals via air or rocket attack, they can let the Hamas government wither and fail for all I care.

Posted by: James Finkelstein on February 13, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

After all, why shouldn't Israel pay to support a group that has sworn to obliterate it?

Too bad the Palestinians don't have all that money that their previous leadership robbed them of.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 13, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

"...that blows up innocent human beings,..."

Posted by: James Finkelstein on February 13, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Soylent Green,
I think this is a variation of what I'm saying. "Dog Whistle Politics" isn't just sending a message to the base, but sending specifically crafted - and usually contradictory - messages to specific groups. To moderates: we don't torture. To "lynch 'em" Red Staters - we're torturing the bastards. To moderates: we want to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. To the base/Saudi Arabia: we will do nothing to burn one drop less of oil.

They are also doing this with the War: They make major speeches saying they'll never pull out, never surrender, we're there until the job is done! Oh, and by the way, we're drawing down troops before the midterms.

It requires a media unwilling to point out paradox, dishonesty or contradiction.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 13, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, did you hit the "Post" button too early?

You forgot to blame Clinton for all of this.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

It requires a media unwilling to point out paradox, dishonesty or contradiction.

Well then their plan is hosed. They'll never find any of that in this great country.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe once upon a time this was something that the West could get away with, but I think today it is a dangerous game. Simply witholding the money is too obvious a tactic and will invite Iran to posture as a savior (which it is already doing). Why can't they just continue the same kind of sabotage they've been practicing since the PLO days?

Posted by: kurtkilgor on February 13, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

I am a radical liberal and I have to stand having my taxes go to Israel. Billions and billions of dollars for weapons used on Palestinian civilians have been gifted to Israel, a country perpetrating totalitarian terror. Israel stole their nation from the Palestinians, killing many more innocent human beings than Hamas ever has, and Israel has and will use nuclear weapons to keep it. Perhaps Hamas is as evil as Likud, but until Israel returns to its original 1947 borders and allows Palestine to exist without its aggressive militant interference, we won't know for sure. I do not want to pay for Zionism or Palestinian war against Israel, but Mr. Finkelstein thinks it is OK for all US taxpayers to fund Israel's Zionist war machine. Epithet!

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

You forgot to blame Clinton for all of this.

Arafat screwed Clinton over too, and Clinton told him as much.

Arafat socked away well over a billion dollars. Heck, just last week a bunch of Palestinian Authority leaders blew town with about $750 million.

Not sure what the Palestinian leadership has to actually do in order to lose the fawning worship the Left around the world has bestowed on it for decades.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 14, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure what the Palestinian leadership has to actually do in order to lose the fawning worship the Left around the world has bestowed on it for decades.

Yeah, we worship it fawningly. Fawns R Us. See, it's statements like this that make us not take you seriously. Next time you're congratulating yourself on blowing holes in what you see as our overblown rhetoric, kindly remember this dilly of a hysterical overstatement.

Posted by: shortstop on February 14, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure what the Palestinian leadership has to actually do in order to lose the fawning worship the Left around the world has bestowed on it for decades.

Again with the lazy "thinking." Hostile has something to say on this score. On the other hand, I'm a liberal commie fag (well, ok, I'm a liberal) and I was very critical of Israel - right up until the intifada. At which point, I basically switched sides.

It's complicated, TB, and just swishing around setting up cardboard Leftists to blame everything on is so boring. I'd like to believe you're smarter than that. But then, that's the trouble with liberals - always seeing the best in everyone.

Posted by: craigie on February 14, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades? I'd love to see you point out a major exception.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 14, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

how can they possibly believe that Hamas's failure won't be seen as being caused by Israel and the West

They're counting on everyone's vision being blocked by all those Iraqi flowers?


Posted by: jim p on February 14, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK
There is no further explanation of this sentence, which seems to have no relationship to anything that comes before or after it. But if Israel and the West plan to cut off the bulk of the PA's income, how can they possibly believe that Hamas's failure won't be seen as being caused by Israel and the West?

They plan on blaming Hamas for the cutoff of funding; the same way the US blames Cuba for the embargo. Its pretty obvious both (a) that that is what they've been setting up since the day of the election, and (b) that that is what the article is referring to.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 14, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

I started to tap out a response to Tom, but craigie's pretty much said it all.

For someone who coyly demanded that we admire his complex and conflicted political nature just earlier today, Tom, you show very little understanding of how it works in the world around you.

Posted by: shortstop on February 14, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Knowing how much of a hot button issue Israel is, I might as well set my neck out on the chopping block. I'm no expert, but I can't help but think having Hamas in government is a good thing. The worst thing to happen to any revolution is to come to power. It's easy sitting on the outside throwing stones, but when you're in control it's all downhill. It's harder to blame someone for the country's problems, and true believers will be disillusioned because being in power won't create the utopia they expected.

What's going to keep all that from happening, of course, will be Bush's insistence on giving Hamas a scapegoat by publicly undermining democracy.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 14, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades? I'd love to see you point out a major exception.

Well, considering that Flanders has previously conflated "the Left" with the Democratic Party, I'd have to offer that as an example. The Democratic Party in America has consistently been Israel's greatest friend and ally.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

but when you're in control it's all downhill. It's harder to blame someone for the country's problems, and true believers will be disillusioned because being in power won't create the utopia they expected.

Unless your name is Bush, of course. Then you could lay waste to the place, and they would say "Excellent! Just the craters we were hoping for! You really are the messiah!"

Posted by: craigie on February 14, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

What's going to keep all that from happening, of course, will be Bush's insistence on giving Hamas a scapegoat by publicly undermining democracy.

And, of course, sabotaging his own Iraq policy by allowing the Iraqis to point out the hypocrisy of him promoting "democracy" there while undermining it for the Palestinians.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you Stefan. I was going to just ignore Ned, and then I was going to rise to the bait, but you just said it.

Ned, you radioactive weenie*, what is this big undiferentiated mass that you call the Left? Where do I get my membership card? Is it anything like the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, or is it just an illusion?

*consider this label as an affectionate, Bush-like nuggie on your helmet, Tom

Posted by: craigie on February 14, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this is an unusually silly post by you. The West cuts off Hamas funding because they are terrorists. Hamas fails. Do you think Hamas will go around admitting, "we failed because the West refused to give us money?" It would be contrary to Islamist ideology to admit that they couldn't hack it on their own. The point, it seems pretty obvious, is to let Hamas take over the gov't, but not to help it, letting it collapse on its own weight. What's the big mystery?

Posted by: DB on February 14, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

I just read this post, thought I had a great comment to make, then I saw that craigie had beat me to the punch. Good job, craigie on the "blame Clinton" line.

Posted by: WCharles on February 14, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this is an unusually silly post by you. The West cuts off Hamas funding because they are terrorists. Hamas fails. Do you think Hamas will go around admitting, "we failed because the West refused to give us money?" It would be contrary to Islamist ideology to admit that they couldn't hack it on their own. The point, it seems pretty obvious, is to let Hamas take over the gov't, but not to help it, letting it collapse on its own weight. What's the big mystery?

Posted by: DavidB on February 14, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

What's the big mystery?

Hmmm... I know: Can Bush actually put his pants on by himself, or does the Secret Service help? Actually, that would be an especially Secret sort of Service. Kudos to whomever named that organization.

Posted by: craigie on February 14, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, we worship it fawningly. Fawns R Us. See, it's statements like this that make us not take you seriously. Next time you're congratulating yourself on blowing holes in what you see as our overblown rhetoric, kindly remember this dilly of a hysterical overstatement.

LOL! I didn't think it was possible to smell burning flesh on a blog thread and yet -- there it is.

Who knew sardonic humor could produce flashburns?

Posted by: trex on February 14, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this is an unusually silly post by you. The West cuts off Hamas funding because they are terrorists. Hamas fails. Do you think Hamas will go around admitting, "we failed because the West refused to give us money?" It would be contrary to Islamist ideology to admit that they couldn't hack it on their own. The point, it seems pretty obvious, is to let Hamas take over the gov't, but not to help it, letting it collapse on its own weight. What's the big mystery?

Posted by: DavidB on February 14, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

It's simply more wishful thinking by the Mayberry Machiavellis who infest this administration -- that is, people who are trying to be cleverly deceptive while actually being first-class dumbbells. It's an open question whether it's better for a nation to be governed by fools or crooks; but a nation being run by a bunch of stupid crooks is definitely up Excrement Creek.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 14, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

As for what the US and Israel SHOULD do about Hamas -- my God, isn't it obvious? Give it money in strict proportion to the degree to which it minds its manners. Any violence against Israel? Cut off the money, until they change their ways and for a period afterwards proportional to the extent of the violence. Tyrannical political behavior? Ditto. Abuse of women? Ditto. You can't exercize any influence over people if you give them no reason from the very start to try to oblige you.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 14, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals' love and support for a terrorist organization like Hamas should not surprise anyone who knows the history of the last few decades.

What is surprising is the liberals' bafflement at losing the elections after they make such strange bedfellows as arafat and mandela and gandhi etc who claim to be freedom fighters but hate the western civilization and all that it stands for.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 14, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter what the West does, Hamas will just blame all of its problems on America and Israel.

Politically, Hamas will make us their enemies even if we want to be otherwise. When you're stuck with a basketcase economy, its essential to have an outside enemy to blame all your troubles on. When there is an enemy at the gates, people will forgive about damn anything. Look how much mileage Castro has gotten out of the US "blockade".

I guess the larger issue is, when the political elites are friendlier than the population at large (and this could be said of Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, probably Saudi Arabia), democracy isn't such an good idea. The last part of the article nails it--

"Mr. Asaad laughed and added: 'First, I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy. But there is no way to retreat now. It's not possible for the U.S. and the world to turn its back on an elected democracy.' "

Posted by: beowulf on February 14, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

I presume that's the Fake Tbrosz above. Despite my issues with the real one, I can't visualize him being such a moron as to say that Mandela and Gandhi "hated Western civilization and all that it stands for."

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 14, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Arafat, Mandela, and Gandhi?

That's like saying Clinton, Stalin, and Mao.

Posted by: Judah on February 14, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a thought: If Palestine gets to back out of Peace commitments like recognising Israel's right to exist 'cos they elected a hard line group like Hamas to power.

How do you expect Israel not to copy their approach and elect a hardline Israeli right?

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas was created by the Israelis in the first place (much to their later regret). They helped the Islamists get off the ground as a counterweight to the secular Marxists of the PLO, thinking it would divide the Palestinians. Then they undercut and weakened the PA at every opportunity, making sure that the PA got no credit for the Gaza withdrawal (doing it unilaterally with no coordination or discussions with PA leaders). Meanwhile, the US and Israel actively promoted corruption on the part of the Fatah leaders. That's because the deal was that the Fatah folks could become rich if they acted as jailers for the Palestinians and kept them in line.

The Hamas people have a plan, and the Israeli right is a key part of it. As long as the Israelis hang on to the bulk of Palestine, they face the demographic time bomb; soon the majority of people under Israeli control will be non-Jews. At that point, Hamas will agitate for one person, one vote, one state. South Africa redux. And the Israelis have been trying out the same solutions that South Africa tried. We're currently in the Bantustan phase.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 14, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Dear Tom Brosz wrote "What is surprising is the liberals' bafflement at losing the elections...."

Which elections is he speaking of?

Liberals won the presidential election in 2000, only to have it stolen by a wacky Supreme Court decision that prohibited the sine qua non of elections -- counting the votes!

(Tom, just remember this one fact: The number of ballots that were not counted because the voter both punched for Gore AND wrote in Gore, minus the number of ballots that were not counted because the voter both punched for Bush AND wrote in Bush, greatly exceeds the 500-odd margin by which Bush was alleged to have won Florida.)

As for 2004, so many states now have unauditable voting systems that there really is no way of knowing who won in 2004.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 14, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile: "Israel stole their nation from the Palestinians" is not apropos of reality, since the nation of "Palestine" did not exist in 1948 or 1967.

Hostile: "... until Israel returns to its original 1947 borders ..." reveals his/her desire, shared by Hamas, to obliterate Israel, since Israel didn't declare independence until 1948.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 14, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz>Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades?

Dunno about prominent leaders and their public statements, but plenty of hardcore left activists and politicos I know actually admire Israel, in a backhanded way. And verbal support of the Palestinian leadership, former or current, is bound to start an argument almost. I think that's the norm (Not to say supporting Israel's behavior won't start a louder argument.)

But, no, backing the Palestinians with a blank cheque is not universal on the left. There are very few good guys in that conflict. Possibly none at all. The only near-universal opinion seems to be that it's partly an unintended result of decades of US mucking around there, encouraging the islamo-fundis to slaughter and supress marxists or leftists, and propping up sh~tty regimes.

This is valid in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc...but I actually don't buy that line re Israel itself. They'd be half tragic scape-goat, half villian even without US power-politics. The region is rife with bigotries of its own.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on February 14, 2006 at 4:09 AM | PERMALINK

"I wish America would cut off its aid. We do not need this satanic money," [Hamas leader] Zahar told a conference in Cairo, Egypt.


Posted by: Matt on February 14, 2006 at 4:53 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, how does the NYT expect to get a message across that is favorable to Bush and Israel, while being in contradiction to the facts?....

Hmmmm......

Well first, it'd help if they had a newspaper of record.

Posted by: luci phyrr on February 14, 2006 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

Compare and contrast the above story with this speech from Bush last year:

"We seek two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security"

We're also determined to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

It would be nice for once if the actions matched the rhetoric, and if the US really did stand up for democracy, rather than seeking to undermine it because the "wrong" people won.

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on February 14, 2006 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Only in Kevinland could someone's reluctance to pay welfare to a psychopath that has promised to use the money to kill you be construed as mean and unfair.

Posted by: wks on February 14, 2006 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

James F.

"We're not talking about a difference of opinion between Israel and Hamas on policy issues; we're talking about an organization they blows up innocent human beings, and if they had nukes, wouldn't hesitate a moment in vaporizing every Jew in Israel."

That is crap and you know it.

1. I see no difference in terror between using "suicide bombers" that kill innocents and using F-16s, to kill innocents. Palestinians use suicide bombers because they cannot afford F-16s and not because it causes more terror than "lightening from the sky".

2. You cannot extrapolate behavior as you did when the stakes change in such a radical manner. Implying that someone will use nukes in the same manner they use suicide bombers is to demonstrate ignorance usually reserved for knuckledraggers like Judith Miller and Doug Feith.

3. I think it more likely Isreal will use nukes for "tactical reasons", than any other country in the ME.

4. If Isreal cannot get along with their neighbors, perhaps Isreal should consider moving somewhere else. They are a bright people, for the large part, and their success surely does not depend on their ties to a particular chunk of dirt.

5. If Isreal "cannot" move because of their worship of their relic-strewn "homeland", perhaps they should consider their reasons in the context of the OT prohibitions on idolatry and the plethora of stories about how God claims that "vengence is mine" and how God is quite capable of taking care of him/her/it self, thank you.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on February 14, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

This has always been where I part company from a great capital 'L' liberals: support of Palestian revanchist fantasy.

Isreal has a right to exist within secure and defensible borders.

There's already a "Palestistian state". It's called Jordan.

Isreal did not confine those who fled, fully expecting to come back to claim for themselves all Jewish farms and homes, I might add, the combined Arab Legion invasion of its lawful territory in 1948 to squalid refugee camps. That was the Arabs themselves.

Posted by: CFShep on February 14, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the article was clear, Kevin: Hamas gets to choose how it responds to the ultimatum. As a result, the onus is on Hamas. And it's not like the ultimatum has such horrid demands (recognize Israel's right to exist, become peaceful, and so on).

Posted by: Frank on February 14, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

"But if Israel and the West plan to cut off the bulk of the PA's income, how can they possibly believe that Hamas's failure won't be seen as being caused by Israel and the West? Any guesses?"

This is easy. First, no Arab supporter in the West can be allowed to read about it. Second, to make sure, the supporters can't communicate with the Middle East. Third, Al-jazeera has to be blocked from broadcasting any knowledge of US/Israeli intentions.

I am sure Pres. Bush has been assured that these three things are a slam dunk.

Posted by: Guy Banister on February 14, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Some of you guys amaze me. Here we are in the middle of a war on terrorists and you don't see the sense in opposing a gov't completely composed of terrorists. It doesn't matter how it got there. It's there and we have to deal with it. It's a multi-national problem being dealt with in a multi-national manner just like Kerry was clammoring about during the 2004 campaign.
Now why the US and EU wouldn't want to take credit for toppling Hamas is beyond me. That would be like killing Osama and then saying "He did it". Frankly I would want to give the man who kills Osama a ticker tape parade.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 14, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the handling of the so-called "peace process" by the US&EU and the other Israeli puppets show that they are not very bright and because of this then they do stupid things. Very ironic though, first you demand democracy and when you got one, you start plotting to overthrow it...

Posted by: JustMe1 on February 14, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

There's already a "Palestistian state". It's called Jordan.

That's news to the Jordanians.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades? I'd love to see you point out a major exception.

Every Democratic president from time out of mind has backed Israel. Your definition of "Left" then becomes the equivalent of someone who criticizes Israel.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 14, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Some of you guys amaze me. Here we are in the middle of a war on terrorists and you don't see the sense in opposing a gov't completely composed of terrorists.

So we're at war with Hamas and the Palestinians now? Well then hell, hoss, why don't we invade? What's Bush waiting for? Maybe they got their hands on some a them missin' WMD -- why take the chance?

Now why the US and EU wouldn't want to take credit for toppling Hamas is beyond me.

Because it puts the lie to their claim that all they want to do is encourage democracy in the region. You can't invade Iraq and say you're doing it so that democracy will spread and then, when the Palestianians elect a government you don't like, try to overthrow that democracy. It makes you look like a hypocrite.

That would be like killing Osama and then saying "He did it". Frankly I would want to give the man who kills Osama a ticker tape parade.

So would I, pal, but here's a hint: I don't Bush is going to be the man getting that parade. Otherwise why isn't he going after bin Laden in Pakistan?

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Every Democratic president from time out of mind has backed Israel. Your definition of "Left" then becomes the equivalent of someone who criticizes Israel.

I pointed out to Flanders earlier in this thread last night that the Democratic Party has been Israel's strongest and oldest ally, and he promptly disappeared. SOL for him whenever he's confronted with one of those inconvenient "facts" he can't spin. But he'll be back in another thread, loudly braying the exact same falsehoods.


Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

This is really very simple. It simply is not ethical to give money to people who strap bombs to clueless dopes so that they can walk into restaurants or onto buses to blow up civilians.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 14, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

In other news, yesterday contractors and Iraqi flunkies "blew town" with MEGA bucks - Don't know what the Fawning R' Us Right sees in them.

(With apologizes to the Stalwart Middle Infielder)

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 14, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

>"Liberals' love and support for a terrorist organization like Hamas should not surprise anyone who knows the history of the last few decades."

Too funny... gawd, I'm ROFL

Anyone who actually knows the history of Israel understands that it is a state founded in terrorism. In it's day the Irgun was the #1 terrorist organization in the world.

Mehachim Begin, mastermind of the bombing of the King David Hotel... Prime Minister. Rabin, mastermind assassination of Von Folke, (the UN peace envoy)... Prime Minister. Sharon, the massacres of Sabrina and Shatilla,... Prime Minister.

Zionism is racism.
Zionism is Aparthied.

Simple facts. Eventually Israel must follow the path of her sister-state South Africa and abandon aparthied. Any other course will eventually result with Israelis drowning in a sea of blood.

With the armageddon-promoting Christians on the sidelines rooting for a bloodbath... that may just happen sooner than later.

Posted by: Buford on February 14, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

This is really very simple. It simply is not ethical to give money to people who strap bombs to clueless dopes so that they can walk into restaurants or onto buses to blow up civilians.

Is it ethical to give money to people who strap bombs on the underside of F-16s so they can blow up restaurants or buses with civilians inside them? What about if those people are killed with shells from a tank, or an artillery shell fired from a destroyer? Does that make it OK?

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

For all of you complaining about Israel having to give money to Hamas, I'm sure Hams would take the following deal straight up if offered: cancellation of all aid in exhange for the return of the land illegally occupied by the Israelis for the last 40 years.

The founding of Israel was a crime of historical proportions against the Arabs, and only an imperialist could think otherwise.

Posted by: brewmn on February 14, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever happened to the idea of a Hamas-backed government of technocrats--the compromise solution--bring in neutral experts who can deal with Abbas and Israelis and work on raising quality of life in the PA, while Hamas-proper stays in the backround? I thought this was being discussed as a serious possibility and it seemed like the best of bad options.

I find this article depressing, and depressing as well the general aversion to any kind of compromise and moderation on all sides of this conflict (I guess that's the obvious). While I'm sure elements in Israel/US hope for this kind of strategy, it seems to me that it will guarantee nothing but further misery and strife, further radicalizing the Palestinians by in effect enforcing collective punishment on them. Is this really good for Israel in the long run?

And further, if the US takes this approach, its claims for promoting "democracy in the ME" will be proven even more hollow than previously thought (if that's possible . . .). Will the US ever learn to live with election results it doesn't like? Hasn't history shown that meddling in another country's democratic process (see Iran, Chile, etc. etc. ) only produces long-term losses for US image and influence?

Anyway, I'm sure to be flamed for these sentiments, but I honestly don't think grinding the Palestinians into the ground further is the right way to react to the Hamas win. I really don't think its good for any party involved (US Israel PA, rest of the ME,etc.) in the long run . . .

Posted by: pish-posh on February 14, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

If that is the sole purpose for the bombs on the F-16 or the shells in the guns, then it is not ethical, however, that really isn't the case, is it?

Israel is in a war for it's survival, and has been for it's entire existance. Ending the violence has always been within grasp of the Palistinians and the other Arabs, but they mostly refuse to renounce the intention of exterminating the Israelis. If you really are unable to understand which side is in the right and which is not, then you are quite hopeless.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 14, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

That should have read "existence".

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 14, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Zionism is racism.
Zionism is Aparthied.

Simple facts. Eventually Israel must follow the path of her sister-state South Africa and abandon aparthied. Any other course will eventually result with Israelis drowning in a sea of blood.

Posted by: Buford on February 14, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry? When did Israel become a majority Arab country that didn't allow Arabs to vote. At last check there were Arab's in the Israeli parliment.

It might take a bit more than threats of genocide to hand land back to people who still want to commit genocide and haven't actually stopped blowing up buses.

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas? Is that anything like falafel?

Posted by: Bill O'Reilly on February 14, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Israel stole their nation from the Palestinians, killing many more innocent human beings than Hamas ever ha!

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

If Isreal cannot get along with their neighbors, perhaps Isreal should consider moving somewhere else.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on February 14, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Zionism is racism.
Zionism is Aparthied.

Posted by: Buford on February 14, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

The founding of Israel was a crime of historical proportions against the Arabs, and only an imperialist could think otherwise.

Posted by: brewmn on February 14, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Is anyone here in doubt that most arab nations want to exterminate Israel and actually tried to do it?

Besides blaming the Jews for their very existence, does anyone have any constructive solutions other than for them stand still and let people kill them?

If anyone proposes another homeland, any idea where?

Mine own thought was that France and Germany should be forced to give up huge chunks of land at gun point for their historical past for a new Jewish homeland. Unfortunately Chirac would probably respond by pointing nukes at people again.

I'm glad Israel has nukes. I figure being a culture that survived extermination entitles you to respond to the threat of extermination with
a little overachivement whenever their neighbours attack them.

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

One think I can guarantee is that the exterminate Israel crowd will be healthily funding the Dem far left by the next election, and the Dems will pick a nominee that nuances his position accordingly.

Posted by: Mca on February 14, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

If that is the sole purpose for the bombs on the F-16 or the shells in the guns, then it is not ethical, however, that really isn't the case, is it?

Yet to the person whose family is killed by the F-16 it matters little whether that was the sole purpose of the bomb or not. Dead is dead. And as another commenter above noted, the reason the Palestinians use suicide bombs isn't becuase they're uniquely evil, it's because it's the cheapest and most effective weapon available to them. If they had F-16s and tanks and ships of their own they'd make war with those, instead.

Israel is in a war for it's survival, and has been for it's entire existance. Ending the violence has always been within grasp of the Palistinians and the other Arabs, but they mostly refuse to renounce the intention of exterminating the Israelis. If you really are unable to understand which side is in the right and which is not, then you are quite hopeless.

Actually, I used to be a Zionist and have always been a strong Israel supporter (on the Labor not Likud side, of course), and I absolutely agree with you that the Arab regimes have to end their commitment to exterminating Israel, and that the onus of ending the violence is on their side.

If it's a choice between Israel and Hamas I have no doubt where I fall, but I also believe that now that we're here it's useless to pretend that one side has is snow-pure while the other is purely evil. Both sides have committed their share of atrocities, both sides have legitimate goals, and unless we're going to completely wipe out one side or the other we're going to have to find some middle ground.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

There's already a "Palestistian state". It's called Jordan.

Yes, and prior to 1967 Jordan's border included the West Bank and the Gaza strip was part of Egypt.

Israel illegally held, and continues to hold, both areas including territory that is part of Syria (the Golan Heights).

If "Palestine is Jordan" then Israel must evacuate the West Bank, period.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 14, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

"There's already a "Palestistian state". It's called Jordan."

Israel would have the west bank and keep it, except they ran out of Jews.

Posted by: Matt on February 14, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Israel illegally held, and continues to hold, both areas including territory that is part of Syria (the Golan Heights).

Israel must evacuate the West Bank, period.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 14, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Funny, how everyone likes to omit the fact that they got that land, when neighbouring countries started a war of extermination - and that Israel returns the land in return fo security guarantees and recognition - like it did with Egypt - but Syria and Palestine are too stupid to negotiate.

I guess deep down there are plenty of people who just want jews to be dead.

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

we're going to completely wipe out one side or the other we're going to have to find some middle ground.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of arable land in that area to waste on middle ground. I suggest a wall.

Failing that, move the Palestinians. We have more Arabs in the Middle East. We are low on Jews since WWII.

I suggest issuing 20 million EU passports to the Palestinian people. The French have more cars they need burnt and we need to punish Europe for cartoons of the prophet.

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

one side has is snow-pure while the other is purely evil. Both sides have committed their share of atrocities

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

You don't have to be snow-pure white to deserve to exist. And the only neighbour Israel is at peace with (Egypt) is the only one who recognised that - I'd say the problem is not on the Israeli side.

Plus the Bible say they become Christians later.

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Yep. Jordan encompasses 80% of the area covered by the partition of Britain's Palestine Protectorate.

Ain't exactly 'news'.

Posted by: CFShep on February 14, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

"Because it puts the lie to their claim that all they want to do is encourage democracy in the region. You can't invade Iraq and say you're doing it so that democracy will spread and then, when the Palestianians elect a government you don't like, try to overthrow that democracy."

So would you accept the rule of your new "Skin Head" masters if you woke up the morning after an election and found that they had won power here in the US? Well it was democratically decided. No hanging chads this time. The people have spoken. Lets just throw up our hands and accept it. Or perhaps we'll just laugh at the founding fore fathers for setting up a democratic republic in the first place. Or maybe we can all be hypocrites
and oppose it like we should.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 14, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Chapter one, article seven of the Hamas charter.

"The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' "

I guess they wouldn't mind an ex-Catholic like myself moving into Jericho, but Jews are a no-no.

Posted by: Matt on February 14, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades? I'd love to see you point out a major exception."

Well, there's me.


Posted by: Ace Franze on February 14, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Give me a break. You trying to tell me that the Left in America and Europe has not backed the Palestinian leadership over Israel in every single conflict for decades? I'd love to see you point out a major exception."

Well, there's me.


Posted by: Ace Franze on February 14, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

So would you accept the rule of your new "Skin Head" masters if you woke up the morning after an election and found that they had won power here in the US? Well it was democratically decided.

Why not? I have since November 2004....

But what you seem to be saying is that merely winning a democratic election is not enough to confer legitimacy. Which seems somewhat at odd with Bush's Mideast rhetoric of the past four years.

Posted by: Stefan on February 14, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

All Things Beautiful TrackBack Islam's Heart On St.Valentine's Day

Posted by: Alexandra on February 14, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

All Things Beautiful TrackBack Islam's Heart On St.Valentine's Day

Posted by: Alexandra on February 14, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

How does the WH and Israel expect this to be seen as a Hamas's fault? I think this, from the NYT article, is the crux:

They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel's right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements — as called for by the United Nations and the West — or face isolation and collapse.

Hamas will be responsible for yielding to this ultimatum or not. It's a bully's strategy, but there is at least a semblance of reason in it.

Posted by: Michael Roetzel on February 14, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Let me recommend a nifty little thing called a Historical Atlas.

Find "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan" on any map prior to 1947 and get back to me on it, okay?

Everyone else can do a remedial reading of the first three chapeters of "O Jerusalem".

Posted by: CFShep on February 14, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel's right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements as called for by the United Nations and the West or face isolation and collapse.

As per usual with the Bushie-bots bright ideas, I'm seeing any number of potential problems with this scenario. First of all, what if Hamas isn't isolated? I can easily see a scenario where several ME countries (Iran leaps instantly to mind) ride to rescue of their beleaguered, democratically elected compatriots. Maybe even Russia and China decide to get in on the act by making up American dollars with rubles and yen. Hell, Chavez must slavering at the thought of using his petrobillions to stick it to the US once again. Secondly, what if their government doesn't collapse? What if Hamas entrenches itself even more firmly in power?

Of course, then there is the fact of the Bushie's impeccable track record of having all their "get tough" measures in the ME blow up in their (and our) face.

This is not going to end well...

Posted by: tam1MI on February 14, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom is on the march!

Lick the shiny bootheel of marching freedom, you dogs!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 14, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure what the Palestinian leadership has to actually do in order to lose the fawning worship the Left around the world has bestowed on it for decades.
Posted by: tbrosz on February 14, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, most of us center-lefties abhor the Palestinian leadership. In fact, I think it's a CRIME that Arafat wasn't assassinated decades ago, to put that disgusting filth-ridden administration out of it's misery, and let the Palestinians elect a leadership that truly represented their interests.

And now they have.

Democracy has spoken.

You and I may not agree with Hamas. But Democracy has spoken. What's say we let Freedom fucking March here, and stop being arrogant pricks and meddling in their affairs?
(and by that, I mean that I fully support withdrawing funding for them. And Israel as well - if these fuckers can't get along with eachother, then let them work it out themselves. Neither country has any oil, Israel is absofuckinlutely useless as a stragegic ally, because they will NEVER lend us troops, and they will NEVER let us stage or base our troops there.)

And then, maybe you could stop blaming your "left" bogeyman under the bed for problems created by fascists in Israel and Palestine.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 14, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Corporate Fascists' love and support for totalitarian terrorism like Israel's treatment of Palestinians should not surprise anyone who knows the history of the last few decades.

What is surprising is the Fascists' bafflement at winning any elections after they make such strange bedfellows as Saddam and the Shah and Pinochet, etc. who claim to be freedom fighters but hate the western civilization tradition of civil rights and all that it stands for.

Posted by: tfascist on February 14, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Sorry? When did Israel become a majority Arab country..."

I beleive the projection is about 2025, though it is "non-jewish" (almost entirely muslim) not "arab".

Tick Tick Tick.

Posted by: jefff on February 14, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

One question:

Why does the Bush family hate democracy?

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 14, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK
They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel's right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements as called for by the United Nations and the West or face isolation and collapse.

Such a response has proven occasionally good at getting a regime to submit, largely, to imposed restrictions on, e.g., types of weapons it may possess (though verification can be a problem -- see Iraq, post 1991, for examples of both the success and the problems of verification), but have never been really successful, that I can recall, in displacing a regime.

So I wouldn't expect the Hamas-led PA to collapse and be replaced. I would expect it to be weakened as an effective organization, and be more of a failed state with frequent Israeli incursions, no economic development, and growing popular extremism.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 14, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Why not? I have since November 2004...."
Posted by: Stefan

Now thats not true and you know it.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 14, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to add...

funny but not true.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 14, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

McA: "You don't have to be snow-pure white to deserve to exist. And the only neighbour Israel is at peace with (Egypt) is the only one who recognised that...."

Incorrect. The Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty was signed on October 26, 1994. It includes Jordan's recognition of Israel's deserving existence, and peace between Israel and Jordan has continued for over 11 years.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 14, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

That's exactly what they did to Aristide in Haiti, and pretty much everybody blamed the coup on him: how did that happen?

Posted by: buermann on February 14, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

peace between Israel and Jordan has continued for over 11 years.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 14, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well. More proof its not all the joos! fault.

Posted by: McA on February 15, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

The Phillipines, Cuba -twice, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela, now Palestine.

And Viet Nam, Iran, Cambodia, Korea, Haiti- too many times to count, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: Hostile on February 15, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly