Friday, February 10, 2006

Putin joins the Hamas club

Old joke:

Bin Laden, talking to Yasir Arafat: "I don't get it. We're both terrorists who've murdered plenty of people...but I get hunted down and demonized as a terrorist while you get the Nobel Prize! Why?"

Arafat: "Simple, Osama. I mostly killed Jews." (rimshot)

Vladimir Putin went back on his assurances to both Israel and his fellow `Quartet' members and invited Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal to Russia for a lil' chat, after stating that he had never
considered Hamas a terrorist group. The French were quick to jump on the bandwagon in support, yet another signal that Bush's strategy in the Middle East might need to be / Middle East & Africa / Arab-Israel conflict - Israel and US on back foot over Hamas

As I predicted the Olmert government in Israel played a hand in this by releasing $50 million to the Palestinians after the elections, thus signifying business as usual was OK and by taking no diplomatic initiative to ensure that EU nations and the members of the Quartet kept their pledge on not dealing with Hamas until it recognised Israel, renounced violence and endorsed existing agreements.

There was also supposed to be an understanding, according to the US that no party would unilaterally talk to Hamas.

Hamas,of course, was very clear that it would do none of these things!


Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov predicted correctly that other states will follow suit and favor contacts with Hamas now that the gate is open. Yep.

The Israeli caretaker government could have struck decisively and swiftly, saying flatly that they would no longer negotiate with a Palestinian government led by Hamas. Instead, we had the ridiculous spectacle of Olmert saying he would `continue to work with Abbas as long as Hamas was not in the government' at the very time Abbas was in Cairo meeting with Hamas to form the new government.

Israel could even have liquidated or arrested the group's leaders, all of whom are implicated in countless terrorist attacks against Israel.Instead, Olmert decided to send out ambiguous signals and let the “international community” decide whether to recognize Hamas or not..and of course, with the possible exception of the US, they mostly have.

Vladimir Putin also took an opportunity to score further points with the Arab world, and now is ready to add the Palestinians to his other allies Iran and Syria as part of his sphere of influence in the region.

Israel, thanks to Olmert's ineptness, still continues to fumble along. dithering about issues like the transfer of money to the Palestinians and waiting to see
“ what sort of government Abbas and Hamas set up.”

By contrast, Hamas is sticking to its rejectionist principles even when threatened with the loss of Western donor money. Its leaders' rejections of every condition posed for acceptance or aid - recognizing Israel, disarming, honoring international accords – are not presented as subject to negotiations but as clearcut principles, written in stone.

I wish Israel was as loyal to its core interests and principles as Hamas is.

If this continues, it will be Israel, not Hamas which is becoming more diplomatically isolated.


Dan Zaremba said...

never considered Hamas a terrorist group
Of course not - only Chechens are terrorists.

Freedom Fighter said...


Of course the ex-Soviets would know a little bit about terrorism, wouldn't they?