Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hamas Does a Backflip

Hamas and Fatah are very close to passing some kind of agreement that Israel maybe kinda has the right to exist. And, from the looks of it, it appears we actually have one historical example of sanctions actually sort of kinda accomplishing something.

The agreement, resulting from weeks of negotiations, could lead to an easing of the international economic sanctions against the Palestinian government, which Hamas has managed since the end of March. Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas were expected to outline the details here Wednesday.

Awad said the makeup of the next government has not been settled and could take weeks to work out, although it is unlikely that a Hamas official will lead it. He said it would likely be composed of Palestinian leaders unaffiliated with either of the major political movements.

Since Hamas won January parliamentary elections, most foreign donors have frozen aid to the Palestinian Authority, which relies on the funding for nearly half of its $2 billion annual budget. Israel has stopped the monthly transfer of $55 million in tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian government -- sanctions that have left most of the authority's more than 150,000 employees without pay for four months.

Though I wouldn't get all triumphalist yet. The agreement isn't a done deal and El Wapo makes it plenty clear that the military wing of Hamas may thumb its nose at this. Then again, is division within Hamas over an issue like this really such a bad thing? In the end, if Hamas is going to get Palestinians anything but a state of perpetual war and violence, it's going to have to at least agree to a two-state solution. After ages, Israel seems plenty willing to negotiate along those lines, but drawing the line at Israel's destruction is insane utopianism that will only bring disaster. There is a situation right now where the mainstream of both sides is wandering toward a workable two-state solution, and if Hamas moves closer to that it gives everyone some chance of it actually happening.