The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Here I go again

This is the lead of the New York Times' article on recent events in Palestine, on the day after Hamas says it wants a truce of up to 20 years and accepts the 2002 Beirut Initiative as a general framework for negotiations:

JERUSALEM, Dec. 18 — The call for early elections by Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian Authority president, is part of a Western-backed effort to revive the Middle East peace process in hopes of driving the radical Hamas party, which favors Israel’s destruction, out of power.
I am not disputing that Hamas has advocated Israel's destruction in the past, Zio-trolls (but then again so has Fatah.) But can any reasonable person continue reading this article after that kind of opening? In one sentence it implies that Mahmoud Abbas is some kind of "moderate," event though that word has no meaning any longer since people like the al-Sauds are considered "moderate," creates the idea that there is a strong desire by the West to revive the peace process, even though the West abandoned it when the Bush administration came into power and never showed much interest in enforcing the Oslo process when Israel was flouting it, and finally finishes with the equivalent of "Hamas, which advocates the drowning of kittens and puppies."

It's a real shame the article opens that way, because even if I don't agree with its conclusions (including the idea, implicit in the piece that Hamas is a mere Iranian-Syrian puppet) there's some interesting stuff in it, such as:

Mouin Rabbani, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, an independent research group on foreign policy, argues against supporting one Palestinian faction against another. He says that progress will be possible based only on political consensus, even if the West doesn’t love the result.

“Palestinians will remain unable to take significant decisions, or implement them, unless they’re based on a broad consensus that includes at least Fatah and Hamas,” he said. “The international community may have preferences, but this practice of trying to make progress on the basis of divisions in the Palestinian national movement has backfired spectacularly.”
(Mouin Rabbani does fantastic work, by the way, and for an organization that is very much an establishment player while challenging establishment thinking -- you'll see very little of that in Washington, DC.)