Breaking Hamas

Jul 25 2013 @ 2:30pm

Jeffrey Goldberg offers a reliably bellicose strategy to achieve peace in the Middle East:

Engineer the ouster of Hamas from the Gaza Strip. Both the Palestinian Authority and Israel see Hamas as a bitter enemy; both sides understand that Hamas is an impediment to peace talks. The end of Hamas’s rule — the Gaza Strip constituting about half of what would be a future Palestinian state — could set the stage for actual, fruitful negotiations. …

The White House could lobby Hamas’s remaining benefactors in Turkey and Qatar to trim their funding. If such lobbying failed, Congress could “pull strings to speed up delivery of or withhold the advanced weapons systems that both countries are eagerly awaiting, depending upon how the conversation goes. Turkey, for example, is expecting Sidewinder missiles and Chinook helicopters, and it would like to purchase Predator and Reaper drones. Qatar, for its part, is expecting delivery of Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Systems, and 500 Javelin-Guided Missiles.”

Just so long as nothing is done to halt the settlements, and nothing is asked of Israel, while Hamas is targeted. That’s the neoconservative idea of balance. Jonathan Schanzer likewise insists the military takeover in Egypt has given the US the chance:

Since Morsy’s ouster, the military has been unleashed: It has arrested at least 29 Brotherhood financiers, including at least one significant contributor to Hamas’s coffers, according to a senior Israeli security official. It has also reportedly deployed 30,000 troops to the Sinai and purportedly destroyed roughly 800 of the 1,000 tunnels connecting Egypt to Gaza. Ala al-Rafati, the Hamas economy minister, recently told Reuters that these operations cost Hamas $230 million — about a tenth of Gaza’s GDP.

All of this presents U.S. Secretary of State Kerry with a rare opportunity to try to hasten the group’s financial demise. And it is in his interest to do so.  The group, after all, carried out suicide bombings against Israeli civilian targets in the 1990s to torpedo the peace process. It’s a fair bet that Hamas will launch a new campaign of violence now that talks are ramping back up.

More Dish on the potential of the new talks here and here.