Norman H. Olsen, ancien diplomate étatsunien en poste à Gaza, confirme ce que l’on savait déjà:
Hamas never called for the elections that put them in power. That was the brainstorm of Secretary Rice and her staff, who had apparently decided they could steer Palestinians into supporting the more-compliant Mahmoud Abbas (the current president of the Palestinian authority) and his Fatah Party through a marketing campaign that was to counter Hamas’s growing popularity – all while ignoring continued Israeli settlement construction, land confiscation, and cantonization of the West Bank.
State Department staffers helped finance and supervise the Fatah campaign, down to the choice of backdrop color for the podium where Mr. Abbas was to proclaim victory. An adviser working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) explained to incredulous staffers at the Embassy in Tel Aviv how he would finance and direct elements of the campaign, leaving no US fingerprints. USAID teams, meanwhile, struggled to implement projects for which Abbas could claim credit. Once the covert political program cemented Fatah in place, the militia Washington was building for Fatah warlord-wannabee Mohammed Dahlan would destroy Hamas militarily.
Malheureusement pour les Etats-Unis, Israël et leurs alliés arabes, les électeurs palestiniens en ont voulu autrement:
Their collective confidence was unbounded. But the Palestinians didn’t get the memo. Rice was reportedly blindsided when she heard the news of Hamas’s victory during her 5 a.m. treadmill workout. But that did not prevent a swift response.
She immediately insisted that the Quartet (the US, European Union, United Nations, and Russia) ban all contact with Hamas and support Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza. The results of her request were mixed, but Palestinian suffering manifestly intensified. The isolation was supposed to turn angry Palestinians against an ineffective Hamas. As if such blockades had not been tried before.
Simultaneously, the US military team expanded its efforts to build the Mohammed Dahlan-led militia. President Bush considered Dahlan « our guy. » But Dahlan’s thugs moved too soon. They roamed Gaza, demanding protection money from businesses and individuals, erecting checkpoints to extort bribes, terrorizing Dahlan’s opponents within Fatah, and attacking Hamas members.
Finally, in mid-2007, faced with increasing chaos and the widely known implementation of a US-backed militia, Hamas – the lawfully elected government – struck first. They routed the Fatah gangs, securing control of the entire Gaza Strip, and established civil order.
Its efforts stymied, the US has for more than a year inflexibly backed Israel’s embargo of Gaza and its collective punishment of the Strip’s 1.5 million residents. The recent six-month cease-fire saw a near cessation of rocket fire into Israel and calm along the border, yet the economic siege was further tightened.
Our « good, » US-supported Palestinians did not vanquish the « bad » Palestinians any more than Washington’s Lebanese clients turned on Hezbollah, despite the suffering and death of the 2006 war with Israel. Abbas sits emasculated in Ramallah. The Israelis continue to build settlements while blaming Iran for their troubles, as though the Palestinians have no grievances of their own. And we are further than ever from peace.
Ses recommandations à Obama:
That’s why President-elect Obama must reconsider his plan to appoint a traditional Washington-based Middle East envoy, reportedly former envoy Dennis Ross, and instead pursue a course that signals change. He should:
•Declare his determination to pursue from his first day in office, not the final six months, full peace between Israel and all its neighbors. Only by doing so can he win support among Israelis, Palestinians, the Congress, and the international partners we’ll need to support this historic effort.
•Name an outstanding peace envoy to be resident full time in the region with authority over our missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He or she must have the presidential backing and stamina to withstand the pressures and pitfalls of a comprehensive peace process over the long haul. In addition, this envoy must have authority over all US interactions with the Palestinians and Israelis and later, with other parties, reporting directly to the president in collaboration with the National Security Adviser and secretary of State. Assisted with staff comprising the US government’s foremost experts, this envoy would be the single US voice on this issue.
•Empower the envoy to engage with all parties to the conflict, regardless of current prohibitions, on all issues, overturning long-established policy.
•Fund a political and economic development process second only to those in Iraq and Afghanistan.