Thursday, February 16, 2006


The US plan to "bend" Hamas

Article published 15 February by Italy's "La Repubblica"
by Alberto Stabile
Translated by Diego Traversa

JERUSALEM—While Russia and France are opening a dialogue with Hamas to check its intentions, US and Israel, according to New York Times, are talking each other about how to “destabilize” the coming Islamic majority government and to compel Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to hold new elections. The means regarded as the most effective to achieve the goal are mainly two: ceasing every economic aid from West and the international isolation of the Palestinians.

Hamas’ reactions has been immediate: “US, which claim to be the mother of democracy, have to comply with the outcome of elections and the will expressed by the Palestinian people”, that’s to say that , after having wanted the elections at all costs, US don’t agree any longer, considered Hamas ‘ victory.

The “plan”, as has been called by the Israeli press, must be counted between the pressure means deployed by Israel and its most precious ally, the US, to force Hamas to change its fundamental Charter, still focused on Jewish state’s destruction, to give up terrorism and to acknowledge the Israel’s right to exist.

Not surprisingly, before proceeding from words to blows, according to the diplomatic American sources and to the Israeli representatives who have confirmed anonymously the NYT’s revelations, Hamas will be given one chance to change the fundamental points of its agenda.

Yet, time is getting short.

Next Saturday, the Parliament appointed last 25 January is formallytaking office and, since then, the government had several weeks to be formed.

A national unity government, with all the factions called to take part in it?

A technocratic government or, as the latest statements by the extremist leaders would let to understand, a green single-party government led by the number one of the Hamas list, Ismail Haniyeh ?

All the hypothesizes are possible, but it’s sure that Hamas will be the magna pars of the new executive.

The affair worries Israel, surprised by the range of the Islamist success.

Israel doesn’t give credit to the offers of truce, moreover unlimited, put forward by Hamas in exchange of the Israeli withdrawal within the borders of 1967.

Rather, these openings are interpreted as tactical moves.

What the Israeli government wants Hamas to do is a clear and irrevocable abjuration of its main tenets.

“Our strategy” the spokesman of Israeli Foreign ministry, Mark Regev, has explained by a statement that only half belies NYT’s revelations “is to offer the Palestinian leadership a clear choice: either they turn into a political interlocutor or they’ll have to deal with the international isolation”. In view of this end, the Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz will introduce some concrete proposals to donor countries to weaken Hamas.

Substantially, in Jerusalem nobody trusts the possibility that starting a preventive talk may lead to some result, neither is it believed that the government responsibilities will oblige Hamas to twist its strategy. Putin’s offer has been labeled with the cruelest definitions: “A stab in the back”, “ a spit in face”.

As usual, in the crucial moments Israel can count on its American ally.

Were it a national state, the PA today would be under the threat of sanctions.

The destabilization plan’s logic is the same: to weaken the PA by cutting the aid necessary to contend with a one billion dollar deficit a year; to set a security cordon and close the crossings between Israel and Gaza (those between Gaza and West Bank never existed).

The consequences might be devastating to 3.5 million Palestinian, reduced to the verge of surviving from four years of Intifada, economic paralysis and blocks.

Will it be the Hamas led government to be regarded as responsible for the new deprivations or will the Palestinians address their protest against those whom they consider as guilty for wanting them to starve?

NYT’s sources affirms they have weighed pros and cons.

The wary Abu Mazen, somehow, seems to prepare himself to face the extreme hypothesis pointed out by the destabilization plan.

Everybody expects Abu Mazen, on next Saturday during his new parliament inaugural address, to demand that Hamas go ahead on the path of negotiation outlined by PLO by recognizing the Israeli interlocutor and the accords made with it.

But, meanwhile, Abu Mazen has had a law approved by the outgoing parliament (and, according to Hamas, no more entitled to legislate) that, by granting him the power to appoint directly the judges of Constitutional Court, supplies him with, in practice, the faculty of dissolving the parliament on his own accord.

A coupe de main, the Islamists have accused.


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