Friday, March 23, 2007

Time to test Hamas? / Comment & analysis / Comment - Time to judge Palestine on its results: "To continue a blockade of Palestine while Hamas is sharing in government, with US banking sanctions that bite, runs three serious risks. First, we would be telling the Saudis and the other friendly Arab states that have supported the Mecca agreement to keep their noses out of the issue. Yet we presumably want them playing a constructive role on the US’s and Europe’s side at a time when our own prestige in the region is at rock-bottom.

Second, we would discourage Hamas from taking a more moderate non-violent road – the opposite of what the US correctly pressed Britain to do with Sinn Féin.

Third, we would be conniving at the destruction of the Palestinian Authority. We would destroy the fabric of government on the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine would become no more than two walled refugee camps. Meanwhile, we would presumably go on turning a blind eye to the development of Israeli settlements, particularly on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, which risk making a viable two-state solution impossible.

I suppose that the group (the US, EU, Russia, the United Nations) charged with steering the peace process, known as the Quartet, will play on. Unfortunately the noise it makes sounds more and more like the Dead March from Handel’s Saul."

No comments: