And the Big Loser Is...Mahmoud Abbas

(Globe and Mail-Canada) Barry Rubin - The fact that the Palestinian national movement is collapsing and its leaders are paralyzed is the single most important fact dooming any hope of Middle East peace for years to come. In the Fatah primaries, relative moderates were roundly defeated by those engaged in terrorism. Abbas's regime has been unable to impose order in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli withdrawal, and there is no reason to believe this will change. It is making no serious effort against corruption or to stop terrorist attacks against Israel. Could it possibly be clearer that Abbas is the Palestinian leader in name only and is incapable of negotiating any agreement with Israel or implementing anything he promises? The takeover of control over the Gaza-Egypt border is actually hurting Abbas. The PA's border controls are a joke, and both terrorists and weapons are passing through freely. Yet Israel is not the one most endangered by this situation. Israel can defend itself far better than can the PA from an influx of Palestinian terrorists. It is too late for the nationalists to crush the Islamists, even if they decided to do so. Whether Hamas will actually take over the Palestinian movement - I think it won't - it is setting the agenda and intimidating anyone advocating moderation. Within the next two months, local and parliamentary elections are going to confirm Hamas's new leverage.

2005-12-09 00:00:00

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