When President Obama complained that Syria had crossed the “red line” when it used chemical weapons against its own citizens, he was contemplating air strikes against Syria. In a 48-hour turnaround, he sought Congressional support before any strikes. Congress balked, and Valamir Putin, the conqueror of Crimea, gave the President a lifeline by promulgating a resolution by which Syria would give up its chemical weapons.
Most recently, there has been strong evidence that despite turning over much of his chemical weapons, Syria used some of them against its people and, to date, has inflicted over 120,000 casualties, most of whom are civilians. Millions of refugees are running to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, destabilizing them. Iran and Hezbollah are the primary military and financial backers for Syria causing this human devastation. Yet our government is providing financial assistance to the Lebanese government, which has Hezbollah as part of its “coalition.” Backed by its militia, which is far stronger than the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah is calling the “shots,” no pun intended.
And now with the breakdown of peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, President Abbas has created a “unity government” with Hamas, which has refused to subsume its armed wing to the Palestinian Authority. Abbas' “political cover” is that representatives on his cabinet are not part of the Hamas leadership, but backed by them. This subterfuge can only be tested if this so called “unity government” comes out with a clear governmental policy that honors the three conditions by which Hamas would be recognized by the United States and the European Union:
- Acceptance of all prior treaties with Israel
- Recognition of Israel’s existence
- Renunciation of violence
This will be quite difficult for Hamas as its Covenant, which is like our Constitution, would never want to endorse any of the above. It calls for the killing of Jews — not Israelis or Zionists — but Jews. And yet our State Department is willing to work with this unity government. Of course there is a question about whether this is legal as U.S. legislation prohibits dispensing taxpayer funds to any Palestinian entity in which Hamas exercises “undue influence.”
Meanwhile, there is an internal dispute between paying the Gaza PA civil servants in the tens of thousands who did not go to work in the Hamas-controlled government, who have been still receiving paychecks largely through the largess of U.S. taxpayers, and the tens of thousands of Hamas civil servants who have not been paid on a timely basis.
Meanwhile there is the spectre of elections within six months. I sincerely hope that we learned our lessons in calling for early elections in 2007, by which Hamas won an overwhelming victory in Gaza and violently kicked out the Palestinian Authority. Of course this was the last election held, even as Abbas serves his 10th year as president, eclipsing by six years his original four-year elected term.
This is the “neighborhood” in which Israel finds itself. Even Robert Frost’s poem, “Good Friends Make Good Neighbors,” is not even remotely applicable.