McClatchy has an interesting read up on the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Analysts draw a direct line between US/Israeli policies and the rise of Hamas in the region. As usual, the US screwed the pooch and instead of talking to the aggressors, they push for military action instead. From the McClatchy writeup:
In August 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from the narrow coastal territory, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised it would make Israel safer. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the move as “historic.”
Israel had left behind a political vacuum, however. That, along with decisions by Israel, the U.S. and Palestinian rivals inadvertently boosted the militant Islamic group Hamas into power. Hamas is stronger than ever, and Israel’s air strikes risk bolstering it further, according to current and former U.S. officials, diplomats and analysts.
Then, in January 2006, the Palestinians, with strong backing from the Bush administration, held legislative elections. Over Israeli misgivings, Hamas — which has questioned Israel’s right to exist and which the U.S. and Israel consider terrorist group — was allowed to participate.
Hamas won a majority of seats, benefiting from the perceived corruption and incompetence of Abbas’s Fatah faction.
“The United States should have anticipated a result it didn’t like, and it should have played it better,” said Jon Alterman, of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Hamas has much more power now than it did three years ago,” he said.
After the elections, the Bush administration began an effort to reverse the results, McClatchy reported in 2007, but it failed to weaken the group or persuade it to modify its hard-line views. As the months went on, Washington opposed Arab efforts to form a Palestinian unity government and pressed Abbas to confront Hamas.
In June 2007, after months of factional fighting, Hamas forces overran Gaza, ousting Fatah’s foreign-armed and trained security forces. The U.S. rounded up diplomatic and financial support for Abbas, and Israel responded by clamping down harder on Gaza.
Even the Arab states believe the only way to shut down Hamas is politically, not militarily. But the two important powers in the region…the US and Israel refuse to consider that method.
Damn fucking shame if you ask me. But then…our biggest purchaser of American weaponry wouldn’t be buying all that firepower would they? hmmm….