We conclude that the decision to boycott Hamas despite the Mecca agreement and the continued suspension of aid to the national unity Government meant that this Government was highly likely to collapse. We further conclude that whilst the international community was not the root cause of the intra-Palestinian violence, it failed to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of such violence occurring.
Given the failure of the boycott to deliver results, we recommend that the Government should urgently consider ways of engaging politically with moderate elements within Hamas as a way of encouraging it to meet the three Quartet principles. We conclude that any attempts to pursue a ‘West Bank first’ policy would risk further jeopardising the peace process. We recommend that the Government urge President Abbas to come to a negotiated settlement with Hamas with a view to re-establishing a national unity Government across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
That seems completely sound to me. Even if you disagree, there’s no denying that there’s something bracing — from an American perspective — about exercises like this one, or like the one the Knesset undertook after the 2006 war in Lebanon. The Bush administration has shifted its policies around here and there since 9/11, and the press has always been eager to exaggerate the scope of these course-corrections, but none of the efforts to change direction — even the real ones — have involved any kind of serious effort to come to terms with the errors of the past.