Everyone I have every met from Great Britain has been extremely bright, that’s why I can’t understand why the lowest common denominator seems to end up in the parliament. This was proven once again on Sunday when a parliamentary inquiry denounced the west’s refusal to deal with Hamas. They say that the only reason why the Mecca agreement didn’t work out was the boycott of aid to Hamas. This may be true, but it is also true that the ONLY reason the Mecca agreement happened was the boycott of aid to Hamas. Hamas had no intention of making peace with Fatah, they just wanted a better opportunity for western aid. Thats the reason why they made that agreement in Mecca. At the same time these Parliamentarians were complaining about the battles between Hamas and Fatah it is very telling that they did not mention how easy it would have been for Hamas to get the aid. Renounce terror, recognize Israel and agree to abide by previous agreements made by the PA. Why didn’t they criticize Hamas for missing out on an easy opportunity to receive aid? But I guess they can’t do that, if they did, they would have to recognize that peace is the last thing that Hamas wants.
By Ben Hall and Daniel Dombey in LondonThe refusal of Britain and the European Union to engage with Hamas in the Palestinian territories has been strongly criticised by a UK parliamentary inquiry. In a stinging indictment of the west’s approach to the Middle East peace process, a committee of MPs concluded that the international community was partly responsible for the violent clashes between Fatah and Hamas militants in the Gaza strip in June.The isolation of Hamas, even after it agreed to form a national unity government with Fatah in February, had been “counterproductive” and the EU’s unwillingness to provide direct aid for the Palestinian Authority “very damaging”, the Commons foreign affairs select committee said in a report published on Sunday. As part of the EU, the UK has demanded that Hamas renounce violence, recognise Israel and abide by the terms of past agreements before contacts can be established. These three principles were drawn up by the International Quartet on the Middle East – made up of the EU, the US, Russia and the United Nations – in the wake of Hamas’s victory in Palestinian legislative elections in January last year.“We have made it clear that we will respond to significant movement by Hamas,” said the UK foreign office. “We have not said that we will never talk to Hamas but there have to be ground rules. That’s what the Quartet principles aim to provide and are no more than was demanded of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in the 1990s as the essential basis for progress.” But the cross-party panel of MPs calls for the government to “urgently consider ways of of engaging politically with moderate elements within Hamas”.It adds that any attempt by the international community to ignore Gaza, which Hamas has controlled since June, and pursue a “West Bank first policy” would “risk further jeopardising the peace process”.Referring to the events of June, which led to the break up of the national unity government, the report says that while the actions of both sides in Gaza were “deplorable”, the refusal of the international community to lift its boycott of Hamas “meant that this government [the national unity government established by the Mecca agreement] was highly likely to collapse”.Under the policy embarked on by the EU in the wake of Hamas’ 2006 election victory, the bloc delivered more than €600m ($820m) in aid to the Palestinians last year but avoided giving financial support to state institutions controlled by the Palestinian Authority.Nevertheless, EU officials have often betrayed misgivings about the 2003 decision to put Hamas on the EU’s terrorist list. Last September, Finland, then the holder of the EU’s revolving presidency, floated the idea of eventually talking to Hamas, while Javier Solana, its foreign policy chief, told ministers behind closed doors: “We will have to speak to everyone, sooner or later.”
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007