The View From 1776

Obama’s Foreign Policy

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Will Kerry Hand Hamas a Victory?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/21 at 06:37 PM
  1. In past attacks, Hamas has had Egypt and other state to back them up. This time, the ground seems to have shifted for Hamas in that Egypt seems to be silent or even supporting Israel's right to defend itself against missile attack. Whether the changes the ultimate outcome of the current war and the future of Hamas remains to be seen.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/21  at  08:53 PM
  2. J. Jay,

    We realize you are trying to make some kind of point, and we (who know you well enough) can probably decipher what that is, but, if you want to be taken seriously as a commentator whose points are worth considering, don’t you think you owe it to casual readers (i.e., those not joining the conversation) to make clear what point it is you are making, and to do so such that there can be no mistaking or distorting your meaning? Once again you’ve treated us to a seemingly pointless point cloaked in reasonable sounding verbiage; one that can be taken several ways. Your final sentence was so banally platitudinous it’s hardly worth revisiting (i.e., no one can predict … &c; which, in this case, we of course are perfectly capable of predicting – more cycles of violence and agitation broken only by brief interventions that resolve nothing and squander much). Even knowing your biases and writing/reasoning quirks, it takes some effort to divine what you meant to say, but I think you are attempting an indirect defense of the Obama/Kerry strategy of talking the Israelis into withdrawing, as you do not believe Hamas really meant this to escalate (because no backing) the way it did. This further implies you believe the Israelis overreacted, and are, therefore, the real aggressors. Please, correct me if I am wrong in your interpretation.

    Yes, in earlier attacks Hamas had overt backing which they currently lack, but so what. They (and/or earlier Palestinian militant groups – Fatah, Hezbollah, PA, PLO, PLF, PFLP, DFLP, ABC, XYZ … EIEIO – same guys, different letters) also attacked without such backing. They have also attacked Israel other times when they had no backing (overt or otherwise), and attacked while backers feigned innocence. So, it’s not like this situation is really all that different from dozens of similar attacks; at least, not from the Palestinian and Israeli perspectives. Regardless of appearances, Hamas has all the backing it needs (from multiple sources, not all of it Muslim) to keep lobbing rockets at Israel indefinitely so long as they can prevent Israel from responding effectively; and that is exactly what Kerry and Obama are about to hand them.

    The fact they’re smuggling lots of ordnance in even without such ‘official backing’ should tell you there is still plenty of support behind the mask of disengagement. It is not that Egypt is sitting this one out, it is simply they want ‘deniability’, and are about as well disguised as those tunnels the Palestinians use to maintain their stock of missiles. Ask yourself, how the Palestinians would have even been able to start this particular round of hostilities given the Egyptian authorities were truly neutral. Answer, they couldn’t because, then, the first things those authorities would have done (and quickly) would have been to seal those tunnels from their side of the only border the PA has to the outside. Moreover, Hamas and the PA have an unbroken stream of funding both from Muslim sources and from us (in the form of ‘humanitarian aid’; most of which gets spent arming themselves, funding sympathetic terrorists, groups training, and or stashed in Swiss bank accounts for their top echelon. 3/4ths of it is, in fact, provided by us, only to be diverted. Yasser Arafat had several billion stashed, see , and the post-Arafat PA & Hamas are no better – see & ) very little of which makes it into the hands of Gaza’s poor, unless it is to keep the conflict going and to goad poor Palestinians (including children) into participating in the attacks against Israel (i.e., PA & Hamas doles aid out conditionally and with a hefty dose of propaganda).
    As one longtime observer of Palestinian (and Egyptian) politics opines (see ), what dives the violence may have more to do with factional rivalries than outsiders to the conflict like us realize or admit (not sure I entirely buy his argument, but Smith does have a valid point). I would add to Smith’s observation that animosity is necessary to Palestinian legitimacy. Without it, the PA runs the risk of ordinary Palestinians making peace with Israel. The PA (originally the PLO, a terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s eradication), in that event, would become more a hindrance in the eyes of Palestinians who aren’t entirely ignorant just how much the PA (and Hamas, et al) have sacrificed and manipulated them. Therefore, it is more than a little probable a permanent state of quasi-war is not only preferred by the Palestinian leadership to permanent peace with Israel, it may be necessary to their grip on power; as has been the case for a very long time.

    Your comment appears to be saying ‘victory for Hamas is impossible without Egypt’s overt backing’. But, the only ‘victory’ Hamas is capable of accepting consists of Israel’s annihilation, and surely you don’t advocated that.

    Further readings:
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  11:08 AM
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