Commentary Magazine


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Giving Hamas a Helping Hand

The inanity of Obama’s Middle East diplomacy was on full display yesterday. Obama has a knack for getting both the macro and the micro wrong.

On the macro, we now are pressuring Israel to relax the Gaza blockade, thereby giving up a grand-slam home run to the team from Hamas — the ones responsible for the Gaza war and the oppression of the Palestinians under its thumb. This, of course, also redounds to the benefit of their state sponsors, the mullahs, who will take a break from whooping it up over the pathetic UN sanctions in order to gloat about this triumph.

Moreover, this also undercuts Obama’s Fatah clients, whom he has worked so strenuously to bolster and shield from blame for their own rejectionism and incitement. As Jonathan pointed out, Obama now has roped Mahmoud Abbas into cheerleading for a Gaza/Hamas diplomatic coup (i.e., relaxation of the blockade) despite the obvious ill effects it will have on Abbas’s standing. As a former U.S. official explains, “Today the whole Arab world, the U.S. and the EU are talking about poor Gazans and the mean blockade, so what choice does he have? Whatever his private view he has to join the chorus.” After all you can’t be more reasonable than Obama and the UN and still retain your standing with the Palestinians. But not to worry:

There is concern in the US, as well as among Israelis and in the PA government, that any steps taken to ease conditions in Gaza in the wake of the deadly Israeli raid to stop a flotilla from breaking the blockade there would benefit Hamas.

Well, yeah. But on the Obama team trudges, wreaking havoc wherever the “smart” diplomats venture.

Then there is the micro problem. It’s actually not that micro — it’s $400M, which is the amount of the U.S. taxpayers’ money Obama is shoveling over to Gaza. A keen observer asks, “Will a Congress spooked by an increasingly disgusted mob of anti-incumbent voters approve it? Probably, because Mr. Obama and Nancy Pelosi still own enough Members—and after all, it’s ‘humanitarian.’” Aside from the sheer amount, there is reason to wretch over the particulars:

$75 million “to support the Palestinian Authority’s work to improve infrastructure throughout the West Bank and Gaza.” Yeah, see above: Palestinian Authority not administering an outhouse in Gaza, let alone “infrastructure.” “$10 million in USAID-funded activities aimed at enhancing the Palestinian private sector’s competitiveness.” Which speaks for itself and says nothing. $14.5 million will go for “USAID projects for school rehabilitation, small-scale agriculture, the repair of a hospital facility and other community infrastructure in Gaza.” Remember those thriving greenhouses the Israelis left behind in Gaza after disengagement that the Arabs chose to destroy?

You get the idea — but read the rest to appreciate the full absurdity of the entire package “for the wholly undeserving.”

Obama’s efforts in ways big and bigger are destructive to our own credibility, to the security of our allies, to our efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, and to the American people, who have had far too much of their hard-earned money confiscated for idiotic purposes under this administration. But few match this one.