Haggai’s views on what to do about the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Bottom line:
As I’ve said, I think the only thing that can sustain a peace process is to have the final status parameters placed on the table up-front. Hence my disagreement with Indyk on provisional statehood. International-boycott-wise, my price for having it lifted would be participation in THAT process, i.e. one that seriously aimed for final status, not one that says “just recognize Israel up front and we’ll go from there.” In effect, this would fall into Indyk’s camp of a separation/”West Bank first” approach (he’s using that term as an ironic twist on the “Gaza first” initial stage of Oslo). And if that kind of comprehensive approach could work in the West Bank, the hope would be that it could either moderate Hamas in Gaza, or moderate Gaza to rid itself of Hamas. Short of participation in that process, I would not lift the boycott on Hamas. I see no other way of achieving real progress. Any short-term attempt to increase contacts on the ground between Israel and Hamas (or, as we’ve just seen, between Fatah and Hamas) is not likely to last long at all before collapsing into more violence.
It’s also true, as Jim Henley says, that one should always hold open the possibility that it may be impossible to resolve the problem in a satisfactory way no matter what the US does. That said, there’s no way for America’s close relationship with Israel to be viable unless we can also be seen as engaged in the Palestinian problem in a somewhat constructive way. The effort to do otherwise during the Bush years has been a disaster.