Is There an International Coalition Against Hamas??
Point of View | 26
The Quartet’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, James Wolfensohn, warned that the continuation of economic pressure on the PA may lead to its financial collapse (Ynet, 3/17/06). Senior Hamas members predict that the new Hamas government will rely on support from Arab and Islamic states (Ha’aretz, 3/19/06).
Thus, the international coalition against Hamas may be weakened due to changes in the balance of powers within the international community.
What is the Issue?
Throughout the Oslo Process the US was the sole mediator between Israel and the Palestinians: the Oslo Accords were signed under its sponsorship, the “Bush Vision to the Middle East” (6/02) constituted the basis for the Roadmap, and the Disengagement Plan was implemented after an exchange of letters between President Bush and Prime Ministers Sharon and Abu Ala (4/04).
Following Hamas’ electoral victory (1/06), Israel demanded that Hamas recognize Israel, ratify existing agreements and disarm, or face loss of funding for the PA.
In principle, the “Quartet” (US, EU, Russia and the UN) endorsed these conditions (NRG, 2/11).
In reality, it becomes apparent that there is a difference of opinions between the US and the other members of the Quartet regarding the amount of economic pressure to apply onto the PA following the formation of a government under the leadership of Hamas (Ha’aretz, 2/12/06):
The US has declared that it will cease its assistance to the PA with the establishment of a Hamas-led government, while the Quartet has stated that it will “consider” the continuation of assistance (Quartet Statement, 1/30/06).
Despite American and Israeli protests, Russia invited representatives of the Hamas movement (not members of the Hamas party in the PA) to visit Moscow and meet the Russian foreign minister (Ha’aretz, 3/5/06).
The UN called upon donor states to transfer funds to the territories of the PA in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Israel and the US dispute the UN’s evaluation of the extent of the crisis.
There currently exists a lack of clarity regarding the essence and the extent of aid to the Palestinians, and especially how to distinguish between humanitarian, budgetary and developmental aid. The fact that a portion of the aid is transferred through international organizations further complicates the situation.
Point of View
Israel & The Palestinians
The unique status of the US and its ability to form an effective coalition against Hamas has been decreased following Hamas’ victory and other significant regional developments.
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