Global Politics

Bush administration and the Palestinians

(Let's go back to when Hamas was voted into power in 2006 when Fatah bowed to US pressures to hold elections. What was the strategy then?) Ostensibly it was strategy laid out by Bush in a speech in 2002 when he basically said the Palestinian problems could be solved by a Palestinian democracy. Of course Hamas was substantially then, and then the administration tried to change facts on the ground. The strategy then was to provoke Palestinian civil war. They put pressure on Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve unity governments, hold new elections or form a new emergency government, all of which would upset Hamas. So the new plan was to covertly arm Fatah and put pressure on Arab governments to send aid to Fatah in the Gaza Strip through this strongman. (This strongman is kind of the Fatah boss, who has met President. But who exactly is he?) He was a leader of the First Intifadah against Israeli occupation in the 1980s and he became the Fatah Security Chief in the Gaza Strip. (So what was the support provided to Fatah?) The Congress put on hold a big aid package for Fatah in 2006 and to get around that, Secretary Rice and other security advisors toured various Middle Eastern governments and put pressure on them to give Fatah weapons and aid. (You describe this plan as half-hearted and covert, but was it illegal?) It's in a very grey area and most likely there was nothing directly illegal. However it's clear Congress was being mislead. It's true there was no direct US aid going to Fatah. However at America's behest, lethal aid was being provided by America's Arab allies. (So what proof is there that this was the Bush administration's plan?) I have documents verified by officials in the US and Palestine. The only denial I have is that the US provided direct aid to Fatah. The document doesn't say that, it talks about the US trying to get its allies in the Middle East to give aid to Fatah. (What's the future lesson for the next US president about micro-managing the Middle East situation?) Well I think it is that if you try to disregard the popular will of people who sophisticated politically and if you sell them a rhetoric and then the actions are the opposite, you'll regret such actions. We should be more honest in our dealings in the region.