Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sara Roy: "it is worth putting Hamas to the test."

One factor that prompted Yitzhak Rabin to make a deal with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat was the looming rise of Hamas in the early 1990s.  That was two decades ago, but Israeli leaders still become apoplectic at the notion of dealing with Hamas.  The prospect of a Palestinian unity government elicits a variety of threats from Israel, including cutting off water and electricity to Gaza, as Sara Roy notes in her incisive op-ed.  Of course, given the coming rise of Islamically-oriented governments in Tunisia and particularly in Egypt, ostracizing Hamas is no longer a relatively easy matter.  Given the Netanyahu government's territorial agenda, and its mockery of the idea of viable and independent Palestinian state, the isolation of Hamas is integral to its policy.  None the less, it is time for U.S. policymakers to re-examine their assumptions about Hamas, and Roy's essay provides some points to ponder.

Compare Roy's piece to the latest advice from Dennis Ross who believes that Israel and the PA should get back on the bike and keep pedaling.  His comment invites images of a stationary tandem exercise bike, not one that might actually cross a finish line.  Among other things, Ross argues that Israel should reduce its activities in area "A", which is to say those parts of the West Bank where the PA is supposed to exercise civil and security authority under the Oslo agreements.  (It is curious that Ross fails to note that President G.W. Bush, for whom he worked, demanded, in 2002, that Israel pull its forces back from area "A", only to be stiff-armed by Ariel Sharon).  Read the Ross piece for a sample of the sort of well-practiced advice that plays right into the hands of Israel's hardline government.  Just keep on pedaling....

No comments: