Peretz strikes back offering, unless I’m mistaken, no actual arguments that I’m mistaken in thinking that Hamas-Fatah violence is largely the result of deliberate American policy. But to go through the sequence of events, Fatah used to rule the roost on the Palestinian side of the Green Line. Then the US proclaimed that the Palestinian Authority needed to implement political reforms and hold elections. The Palestinians went to the polls and duly booted out the ruling party in favor of the main opposition party. At this point, the US government, apparently run by morons, realized that the main opposition to Fatah was . . . Hamas.
For the record, I didn’t mean to imply that Fatah are quislings. Rather, that the implicit logic of the election scheme seemed to be an American belief that elections would bring a new quisling government to power in order to replace Fatah. Instead, of course, Hamas won. At which point the United States embarked upon a campaign of funneling all monies away from the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government and directly into the hands of Fatah-run security services. Shockingly, this has tended to fuel rather than constrain intra-Palestinian fighting. Similarly, the US State Department discouraged the Saudis from trying to heal the Fatah-Hamas breach.
This is all laid out in David Samuels’ Atlantic cover story on Condoleezza Rice, a story that’s wildly more friendly to Rice than anything I would have said. But this, according to Rice’s friends, is Rice’s brilliant plan in action. Greg Djerejian responds to a different missive from Peretz here.