Is US Policy towards Hamas Constraining Israel?
Point of View | 36
Last week the US House of Representatives approved a bill against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA). If the bill becomes a law (approved by Senate and signed by the president), it would limit the administration's ability to transfer economic aid to the PA or to conduct direct contacts with its officials. (See: Congress Resolution H.R.4681 (5/23/06)).
The Re’ut Institute contends that although this bill is seemingly compatible with the Israeli policy towards Hamas, US policy may eventually constrain Israel's political flexibility.
What is the Issue?
Israel and the US have coordinated their policy towards Hamas and jointly lead the international coalition against it.
Even before the bill was approved, it seemed that US policy towards Hamas was harsher then Israel's:
The US has rejected Israeli proposals to provide aid for Palestinian infrastructure projects and refused to deal with the PA government. (Benn, Ha'aretz, 3/23/06);
Unlike the US, Israel is indirectly assisting the PA by continuing to supply electricity, water and medical services and writing them off from the custom monies it collects on behalf of the PA. (Eldar, Ha'aretz, 5/7/06).
Point of View
Israel & The Palestinians
US policy increases the tension between the two Israeli objectives, since Israel's political flexibility is affected by US political flexibility and maneuverability.