|World may end Hamas boycott for unity government|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00|
The United States is considering easing the restrictions imposed on the Hamas government earlier in the year, after President Mahmoud Abbas establishes a new "unity government". After the election of Hamas into the Palestinian Authority earlier in the year, the international community was faced with a dilemma. A terrorist organization that openly calls for the destruction of Israel, commanding a government that receives hundreds of millions of dollars in aid per year. If aid continued, the international community would in effect be financing terrorism. The Quartet (US, EU, UN, Russia) proposed a resolution calling for Hamas to be financially and politically isolated, which worked for a time. Subsequent to that ruling, Russia and other nations broke ranks and invited Hamas leaders to their capitols, giving official recognition to the government. Arab states also broke ranks, pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas in an effort to stave off a looming financial crisis. In spite of hundreds of Kassam rockets being fired at Israel, Javier Solana the High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy, stated that it was not in the best interests of the Middle East peace process for the Hamas government to collapse. President Mahmoud Abbas has been trying to establish a new Hamas-Fatah Palestinian unity government based on the prisoners' document, in an effort to end the power struggle between the two terrorist groups and ease the financial crisis. Israel has stated the "National Reconciliation Document" is an internal matter for the Palestinian Authority, but the EU has publicly lauded the plan, and is using it to spearhead efforts for a lasting peace in the region.
Quote: "U.N. and European diplomats said they are likely to welcome Abbas' effort to establish a government spanning his moderate Fatah movement, the Islamist Hamas movement which defeated it in elections last January, and leading civil-society figures. The West cut off aid and contact with the Hamas-led government formed in March after it refused to recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace agreements. But the boycott has contributed to worsening poverty and lawlessness in the Palestinian territories, and the Europeans are eager to find a way out. Asked whether the United States agreed with the EU line, European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: "As far as I know, more and more partners in the Quartet think this is they way out of the crisis,"
As I've said before, the EU will push this to the hilt. After the Quartet imposed its restrictions on Hamas, they soon realized Hamas could never relinquish its call for Israel's destruction. Former UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw sought to bend the Quartet's resolution without success. Then EU leaders considered whether the three resolutions could be staggered in order to give Hamas more time to reform. Now with a new government headed by Fatah (but containing Hamas ministers), the international community can save face and continue funding these two terrorist organizations - even without Hamas' recognition of Israel's right to exist, while claiming that democracy has prevailed. It's the fudge everyone has been waiting for.