The situation in the Palestinian territories has really deteriorated to a level of awfulness that I really don’t know what to say. I suppose I do wonder why the Bush administration, having underestimated Hamas’ electoral strength, then went about implementing a post-election policy that was based on underestimating their military strength. I think I should have linked to this Daniel Levy post yesterday back when it was still more prescient than poignant:
Given the apparent rigid opposition of the Bush administration to a political compromise between Fatah and Hamas, its rejection of the Mecca deal, and the embargo on the Unity Government — it is apparently safe to assume that the second option was rejected. However, the first option, even ignoring considerations of the desirability or ethics of such an approach, simply makes no sense in the Gaza context. Currently Hamas clearly has the upper hand militarily, and that was predictable. But even if Fatah were in a stronger position, a military victory, if at all possible, would likely have come at a massive price in human terms but also in terms of social disintegration, and a likely after-effect of increased radicalization. So the US was encouraging a military confrontation that its favorite could not win, and was further muddying what would anyway have been a very difficult political accommodation.
It’s hard to see this as much of a win for Israel, either. This turn of events could be used as a pretext for reoccupying Gaza, but there’s nothing Israel wants there and the settlers have already been removed.