Commander, 3-2 SBCT
A total failure
It’s interesting that so many pundits consider the Hamas takeover of Gaza a “failure” on the part of everyone directly involved in the conflict (“Divorce, Palestinian style,” Commentary, Saturday). In a cosmic sense, failure must mean the putting off of a two-state solution to which everyone (except Hamas) gives lip service. But who really wants a two-state solution? The only genuine enthusiast seems to be the United States.
The Palestinians have shown no talent or inclination for governance; quite the opposite. Once Mahmoud Abbas gets his hands on international handouts again, he will be content to skim off the cream and sprinkle enough remaining droplets to keep the “street” quiet if not happy. Yasser Arafat, Mr. Abbas’s role model, got rich that way with no serious thought of a Palestinian state and the headache entailed therein. The Israelis surely do not need a terrorist entity on their border threatening the heartland, nor a redivided Jerusalem. Having the Palestinians sitting on the critical West Bank aquifers is not a happy thought, either. The notion that Israel is strong enough to prevent a newborn Palestinian state from becoming an armed camp is ludicrous insofar as Israel cannot even stop the arming of tiny Gaza or the firing of crude missiles from there. Imagine defending a border more than ten times the length of Gaza’s.
That leaves America. Its overriding interests are tamping down Iraq and keeping Middle Eastern oil flowing westward. Aside from the United States, none of the parties to the conflict is wedded to a two-state solution or very desirous of it. The splitting off of Gaza will provide yet another opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate an incapacity for governance even with the benefit of having the Israel Defense Forces on hand to stifle the West Bank’s terrorists (generally inseparable from the PA itself).
So, what have we got here? Hamas would call conquering Gaza a success, the PA will shortly feel successful as new money starts flowing, Israel will be relieved though hardly feel secure, and only the United States will briefly wring its hands and slip the baton to the next administration. President Bush must be scratching his head: He was wrong to “neglect” the conflict, and he was wrong to be “too involved” in trying to determine the outcome. It’s a failureevery way you view it.
The Op-Ed by John D. Negroponte and Gordon England “Reap the bounty,” (Wednesday) contained a number of inaccuracies.