THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 1, 2010
Yes, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, one of those scholarly madmen in the Israeli orbit, did call forth a malediction against the Palestinians and their leaders. And, frankly, he deserves a similar anathema from all of us, he with his direct line to God from which he derives his marching orders to his followers. Fortunately, these followers may adore him. But they don’t seem to honor his most egregious commands.
Which is nothing you can say about the Hamas faithful in both the West Bank and Gaza.
Tobias Buck, a journalistic satrap of the most radical elements in both parts of “Palestine,” has a piece in yesterday’s Financial Times arguing that “the Islamist group’s opposition to the discussion stands in the way of meaningful deal.” He is correct. But when he wrote his piece he had no idea that the one successful iteration of the Moslem Brotherhood in Gaza would project its power to kill not in its home base, where Hamas actually rules, but in the West Bank where Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are thought to be near sovereigns, not least by the Obama administration.
When the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority take their seats on Wednesday at a White House dinner marking the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, the ghost at the table will be Hamas.
The Islamist movement, uninvited yet impossible to ignore, remains implacably opposed to the new diplomatic effort. Boxed into its stronghold in the Gaza Strip, Hamas cannot stop the talks from going ahead.
Yet its dissent highlights a crucial problem faced by the parties meeting in the US: how to make progress when the Palestinian national movement is divided between two rival factions in two increasingly estranged territories.
The White House condemned Hamas for the deed. But the Obama administration is blind to the fact that this terror gang is far more powerful on the streets and in the sands than the Palestinian Administration.
P.S.: The poor New York Times. In a Tuesday editorial that was relatively cheery it announced that “Violence against Israelis is down.” Oh, well...it isn’t.