The infighting among the various Palestinian factions, chief among them being Hamas (the known terrorists) and Fatah (the terrorist affliated group), has caused the Bush administration to take sides. For better or for worse, the Bush administration has chosen to cast their lot with Abbas and his PLO pals in Fatah against Hamas. In previous posts, I have suggested that the United States might not want to make a habit of financially supporting groups who are not committed to peace or democracy. I’m no foreign policy genius, but it does seem inconsistent with Bush’s post 9-11 statements that we would go after the terrorists AND the sponsors of terrorism. Unfortunately, that includes so many groups in the Middle East, including those who could potentially be allies in the war on terrorism. Andy McCarthy brings up an excellent point sometimes overlooked when we question the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to peace with Israel.
Why is the administration supporting Fatah without demanding that it shred its Constitution and unambiguously recognize Israels right to exist, as Israel, in perpetuity? Why isnt President Bush demanding that Abbas not only order the disarming of Hamas in the West Bank (which Abbas did only because Hamas is fighting Fatah, not because Hamas is a terrorist organization), but that he also disarm the al-Aqsa Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Because Abbas would be finished the minute he tried any such things. They are not what Palestinians want.
The Palestinians are a backward people, indoctrinated toward brutality. They dont rate a sovereign state or anyones help until they civilize themselves. Sovereignty is a privilege that implies acceptance of civilized norms that is why we speak of states like Iran and North Korea as rogues. Regardless of whether there really are scattered Palestinian moderates, it is a dangerous fantasy to assume the Palestinian people, as a whole, are ready to be anyones peace partner.
We are enabling their hatred when we provide support without insisting that the Palestinian people not just Abbas and Fatah, but the people convincingly foreswear revolution, terrorism, violence, ethnic-cleansing, and the goal of eliminating Israel. We are a generation or more, at least, from any hope of such developments. In the meantime, as long as we subsidize the hatred, we shall be buying more of it, while giving the Palestinians no incentive to reform.
There are more than a few links between Fatah and terrorism, as McCarthy points out here in this NRO article. His suggestion seems to be that we should put conditions on aid to Abbas and Fatah. I agree with him, however, I’m not sure how successful President Bush would be if he did this. All I know is that it doesn’t make much sense to fund their inter-faction squabble or provide them weapons to kill each other.