Late 2005 was a very busy month for USA Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She was over occupied with promoting Democracy in the Palestinian Authority. Delegation of Palestinian survey experts, led by Halil Shaqaqi, the brother of PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad (PIJ) killed leader Fathi Shaqaqi, traveled back and forth to convince, with diagrams and statistical data, that the Hamas had no chance, whatsoever, to gain more then a third of the Parliament members. On the contrary, the fact that the Fatah will win the majority, despite the Hamas, will only strengthen President Mahmoud Abbas legitimacy in the Palestinian society.
Condoleezza Rice was so convinced that she ignored the general experience in the Middle East, which indicated that free election was the fastest way for radical Islamists to power. She was so convinced that she put all her pressure on ISRAELI PM Arial Sharon to enable the Hamas to participate in the Palestinian elections, although according to Oslo accords, in the Palestinian elections groups who denied the right of Israel to exist were banned from taking part. When the results came out, on 01/16/2006, and the Hamas won 60% of the seats, Condoleezza Rice did not stop to ask herself whether she really understood the dynamics of the Middle East and, especially, that of the conflict with ISRAEL. (See - IMPOSING DEMOCRACY )
When the Hamas won the election - US Secretary of State came out with a new plan. Instead of advocating unification of the Palestinian security apparatus to one coherent system under one Political authority, as she aspired all the time, US will arm and train the Fatah forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, so they will overcome the Hamas and by pass the election she so vigorously promoted in the recent past. She was convinced at that time, by former security chief in Gaza Nouhammad Dahlan, that it was almost certain that the Hamas had no chance confronting the well equipped and trained pro Fatah forces. After more then $100 millions in equipment and training, financed mainly by USA, the Fatah forces in Gaza crumbled within three days and all the modern communication and intelligence systems fell in the hand of Hamas alongside large amount of weapons.
Once again Condoleezza Rice did not wonder if she really understood the reality and was misled by the Palestinians time and again. She once again came with a new plan to restore the mayhem she already created in her previous plans. Now she had a third plan: ISRAEL will do peace with half of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and with the so called “moderate” leader Mahmoud Abbas; the international community will pour economical assistance and money so the West Bank will prosper while those supporting Hamas in Gaza will come under siege and economical pressure.
According to Condoleezza Rice’s calculation it is almost certain that the masses in Gaza, who “happened to live under Hams rule” as she described it in a press conference with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, on Wednesday 03/05/2008, and as if the Hamas was never elected by a large majority in Gaza, will undermine the Hamas regime.
In reality Hamas is endangering the Fatah regime in the West Bank and only daily military operations of ISRAELI IDF keep the Fatah in power. The Hamas has the power to veto any political progress with ISRAEL by shelling Shderot or Ashkelon and provoking ISRAELI military countermeasures. It is almost impossible for the Palestinian president to move forward, assuming he really wants to, when Israel is invading Gaza and when he has a large opposition of Hamas and in the ranks of Fatah. The last cycle of violence in Gaza proved, once again, that Mahmoud Abbas is almost irrelevant in shaping the Palestinian society. The veto on any peace process is in the hands of Hamas and, indirectly, in the hands of Iran. (See - USUAL RITUAL )
As if she learned nothing Condoleezza Rice starts a new plan: an indirect negotiation with Hamas through Egypt to lift, partially, the economical siege, to reach an agreement about the border crossing in Rafah and the transfer of goods and people so, she hopes, the Hamas will be a part of the political improvement and will seek for a long term cease fire in order to recover the local economy in Gaza. She also promotes the idea of multiplying the EGYPTIAN force in Gaza in order to seal the border and prevent the massive arm smuggling to Gaza. This idea was already implemented after Israel pulled out from Gaza in 08/2005 but in vain. The point is not the number of EGYPTIAN soldiers but the political determination to cope with the problem.
It is only a question of short time when Condoleezza Rice will come, again, with a new plan to restore all the confusion she caused so far. From the recent experience one thing is sure - Condoleezza Rice never really understood the Middle East.
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