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Feb 16, 2006


Bill Carroll

How about choice #3: first, become the loyal opposition and question the policies of the Hamas government when they are unjust or encourage terrorism, even if they put you in jail or paint you as an Israeli collaborator. Second, at the same time, don't question the election. Third, continue to push for an end to occupation, a Palestinian state, and the implementation of the relevant UN resolutions. Fourth, do not accept help from the US or Israel in unseating Hamas. Insist that this is an issue for Palestinian self-determination. Abbas could become a Mandela like figure if he plays this right, but he needs to be willing to run some of the same risks as Mandela.

John Wilkins

Bill you optimist!

Bill Carroll


Don't confuse hope with optimism! I don't really think Abbas will choose option 3. He probably will stick with 1 or 2 with the predictable outcomes that you outline. I was just speculating about what I wish God might do...

Phil Snyder

John & Bill.

I think that Abbas will probably choose option 4 - stash hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign banks and get out of dodge with your buddies. Claim that you are not going to interfer with the new Hamas Government and so you are leaving for a short time so that Hamas can get a handle on governing without you around to muddy the waters. That way, you sound "nobel" but get to retire to France or Switzerland or some other country that has a better climate and live the good life.

When it comes to the Middle East, I am not an optimist. I fully believe in the power of human sin and greed and anger to corrupt lives. I also believe in the power of Jesus Christ to redeem those lives, but I see precious little of Jesus operating in the Israel/Palestine situation.

Phil Snyder

John Wilkins

Phil - I wish you'd provide some evidence. Abbas is one of the few men well respected by the administration and many Israelis. He was one of the only men to oppose violence, and for this reason was sidelined for many years. Granted - he has keen survival skills - but is that bad?

Unfortunately, noone really provides him any incentives to do the right thing, so I'm simply happy that he doesn't try to make things any worse. He's much different than Arafat. And this is pretty important.

I suggest checking out the NYRB Feb 10th issue. it quotes: Uncomfortable with how negotiations had proceeded up until the Camp David summit, Abu Mazen was adamantly opposed to the outbreak of violence that followed it. Violence long struck him as pointless and unsound, tantamount to using the weakest Palestinian weapon to assail Israel's strongest flank. Abu Mazen looked at violence in purely cost-benefit terms, and while the costs were high, benefits were few: Israelis closed ranks, the United States took sides, the international community turned its back, and the Palestinian Authority fell apart. Instead, he believes the goal ought to be to engage with various Israeli political groups, talk in a language that Washington understands, and rally the world to the Palestinians' cause. To that end, Palestinians must stabilize the situation, restore law and order, rein in all armed militias, build transparent, legitimate centralized institutions, and, above all, cease armed attacks against Israel. In his vision, means and ends mesh: if Palestinians make a fair case, they can get a fair hearing. Out of Palestinian restraint will come both stronger international support and greater receptivity by the Israeli public to logical demands.

Of course, phil, it only works if Palestinian restraint actually brings receptivity. If restraint results in continued Israeli hostility, then Hamas is proven right.

John Wilkins

that's feb 10th 2005

J. C. Fisher

And if you were Abbas, Phil, what would you do?

It's very easy to pronounce judgment when you're not between the rock and the hard place that Abbas/Abu Mazen is!

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