Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hamas Victory Among Palestinians is Bush's Fault, too

The Reasonable Washington Post has brought down to us mere Fools another token of revelation. Once again, an international crisis in the making is all bush's fault.

So says this WP Headline: U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote

The essentials:
The election outcome signals a dramatic failure in the administration's strategy for Middle East peace, according to analysts and some U.S. officials. Since the United States cannot deal with an organization labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, Hamas's victory is likely to curtail U.S. aid, limit official U.S. contacts with the Palestinian government and stall efforts to create an independent Palestinian state.

More broadly, Hamas's victory is seen as a setback in the administration's campaign for greater democracy in the Middle East. Elections in Iran, Iraq, Egypt and now the Palestinian territories have resulted in the defeat of secular and moderate parties and the rise of Islamic parties hostile to U.S. interests.

The administration has long been criticized for being reluctant to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; even after Bush's 2002 speech, the policy drifted except for occasional high-profile speeches and events. But after Arafat's death in late 2004 and the beginning of the new presidential term, Bush vowed things would be different, saying he would invest "political capital" in ensuring a Palestinian state before he leaves office three years from now.

The effort went wrong on three fronts, according to interviews inside and outside the administration:
· The administration put its hopes on the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and poured hundreds of millions of dollars to fund public works projects. But it failed to back him when he asked for concrete help, especially in his dealings with the Israelis.

· The administration was highly attuned to the shifts of Israeli politics but tone-deaf to the upheaval in Palestinian society. It was so focused on facilitating Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that it did not press Israel to end settlement expansion, release additional prisoners or take other measures that might have reduced Palestinian indignation.

· Despite deep Israeli misgivings, the administration late last year shifted policy and decided Hamas could participate in the elections even though it had not disarmed its militias, in contrast to rules set for elections in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.
Yes, of course that must be the reason Hamas won the overwhelming support of Palestinians! It has nothing to do whatsoever with Hamas'1988 charter:
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection. Who can presume to speak for all Islamic Generations to the Day of Resurrection? This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This [norm] has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and they asked the Caliph of Muslims, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, for his view of the conquered land, whether it should be partitioned between the troops or left in the possession of its population, or otherwise. Following discussions and consultations between the Caliph of Islam, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, be peace and prayer upon him, they decided that the land should remain in the hands of its owners to benefit from it and from its wealth; but the control of the land and the land itself ought to be endowed as a Waqf [in perpetuity] for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.” From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem. Some accept the idea, others reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the implementation of this or that condition, as a prerequisite for agreeing to convene the Conference or for participating in it. But the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is aware of the [prospective] parties to this conference, and of their past and present positions towards the problems of the Muslims, does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers? “And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah [himself] is the Guidance. And if you should follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then you would have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.” Sura 2 (the Cow), verse 120 There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game.
We cannot fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied Holy Jerusalem in 1967 and stood at the doorstep of the Blessed Aqsa Mosque, they shouted with joy: “Muhammad is dead, he left daughters behind.” Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. “Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”
Within the circle of the conflict with world Zionism, the Hamas regards itself the spearhead and the avant-garde. It joins its efforts to all those who are active on the Palestinian scene, but more steps need to be taken by the Arab and Islamic peoples and Islamic associations throughout the Arab and Islamic world in order to make possible the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war. “We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loves not corrupters.” Sura V (Al-Ma’idah—the Table spread), verse 64.
The greedy have coveted Palestine more than once and they raided it with armies in order to fulfill their covetousness. Multitudes of Crusades descended on it, carrying their faith with them and waving their Cross. They were able to defeat the Muslims for a long time, and the Muslims were not able to redeem it until their sought the protection of their religious banner; then, they unified their forces, sang the praise of their God and set out for Jihad under the Command of Saladin al-Ayyubi, for the duration of nearly two decades, and then the obvious conquest took place when the Crusaders were defeated and Palestine was liberated. “Say (O Muhammad) unto those who disbelieve: ye shall be overcome and gathered unto Hell, an evil resting place.” Sura III (Al-Imran), verse 12. This is the only way to liberation, there is no doubt in the testimony of history. That is one of the rules of the universe and one of the laws of existence. Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith. Faith can only be fought by faith. Ultimately, victory is reserved to the truth, and truth is victorious. “And verily Our word went forth of old unto Our Bordmen sent [to warn]. That they verily would be helped. And that Our host, they verily would be the victors.” Sura 38 (Al-saffat), verses 171-3.
Nah, that can't be it. It must be Bush's fault.

It can't have anything to do with ridiculous corruption within Fatah and the PA:
Since its creation in 1994, Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has presided over the collapse of the Palestinian economy. He was given billions in aid, and squandered what he and his cronies didn't steal. With GDP down nearly 70 percent, Palestinians have seen their collective national net worth reduced by more than two thirds. Virtually nothing remains of a once reasonably vibrant private sector. Corruption exists on a scale that even the normally approving Europeans cannot abide. Public infrastructure has disintegrated. Public health standards, in 1993 the highest in the Arab world, are among the lowest. And the disastrously self-destructive terrorist war against Israel that Arafat started in September 2000, has reduced Palestinians to the most desperate conditions they have seen since the creation of Israel in 1948.
In addition to outright theft or misappropriation of funds, there is also faulty administration and a bloated public payroll. One of the chief consumers of funds in the chronically deficit-ridden Palestinian budget is the "police force" that exceeds 2% of the population, a size far above the limits imposed by the Oslo agreements, a force that is armed with weapons that are illegal under those agreements. Notwithstanding the large size and excessive armament of the force, it has not created the security environment that was its raison d'etre. In fact, the Palestinian police -- really Arafat's army -- are implicated in terrorism against Israel.

There are many documented reports of rampant corruption and misuse of funds within the Palestinian Authority and its related governmental bodies. For example, in 1997, the PA received $548,727,000 from the international donor community. It also received more than $800 million in tax revenues collected by Israel from Palestinian Arabs. At the end of 1997, when the PA released its annual financial report, $323 million - nearly 40% of the annual budget - was "missing." Yasser Arafat is believed to have personally benefited, possibly with billions of dollars flowing into personal accounts. Yet, the world community continues to make donations to Arafat's organizations in order to try to buy peace, a process that is usually called extortion. Arafat and his coterie of unofficial economic "advisors," in the words of David Hirst:
* ... have thrown up a ramshackle, nepotistic edifice of monopoly, racketeering and naked extortion, which merely enriches them as it further impoverishes the society at large.
The embezzlement of US taxpayer funding, on a vast scale, by Yasser Arafat and other members of the Palestinian Authority is detailed in the report "Corruption within the Palestinian Authority", referenced below.

An investigation by Newsweek in 2000, on the brink of the Camp David talks, revealed abuses at almost every level of the Palestinian Authority. Said Newsweek:
* Many top ministers staff their offices with cronies, dole out valuable contracts without oversight and create their own monopolies, which crush competition and drive up prices paid by hard-pressed consumers. The courts are powerless because Arafat simply ignores any inconvenient rulings. His 14 separate police forces enforce the whims of PA officials rather than laws aimed at protecting ordinary Palestinians. "It's a mafia state," says Abdul Jawad Saleh, a former Agriculture minister who was beaten by security forces recently for leading an anticorruption protest.
Muhammad Rashid, Arafat's economic adviser, is vice president and one of the principle stockholders in Paltel, the monopoly set up by the PA and the Palestinian Development and Investment Co. (Padico) to run the telephone service.

In an investigative report from December 1998, The Financial Times reported that Rashid and Paltel were deeply involved in stealing the $160 million Gaza Employees Pension Fund, which was transferred to the PA by Israel in 1994 and emptied of its funds by Rashid between early 1996 and late 1997. Freih Abu Medein, the PA's justice minister told the paper at the time the money had been invested in telecommunications projects.

The Palestinian Mortgage Housing Corporation was involved in scandal in 1998, when the EU discovered that $20 million it had donated for the construction of low-cost housing in Gaza had been used instead to build luxury apartments for wealthy supporters of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

After eight years of the Palestinian Authority, by 2000 the average Palestinian in the West Bank or Gaza had a lower income and worse condtions. It is possible that Arafat walked away from Camp David so he could continue to use Israel as a scapegoat rather than face the mounting problems of the Palestinians under his rule.
Nah, that can't be it, either. It still must be Bush's fault.

It's far easier for Reasonable pundits to disapprove of the President over their own differences with his policies. It's far simpler to view the complex history of Arab-Israeli relations through this skewered paradigm, and then lay blame for the latest mess at President Bush's feet.

Only Fools would demure that such a feel-good critique for the secular-progressive left fails to address reality. The fact remains that the Arab world has no interest in safe-guarding Israel's right to exist. While the Jewish State, like all states, may make it's share of mistakes, her leaders have not forgotten this existentially imperative fact. Until Reasonable commentators face this truth, they'll have nothing more intelligent to say about any wrinkles in the Mid-East besides "Blame Bush."

Pope John Paul the Great once said:
"If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace the truth..."
Would that our Reasonable pundits listen!