PM Netanyahu and President Obama. (Avi Ohayon/Flash90) (Avi Ohayon/Flash90)
Obama and Netanyahu

Washington’s rush to recognize the new Hamas-backed Palestinian government is only the latest in a dismal series of missteps, failures and betrayals, says David Horovitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel, in this opinion piece.

Mere hours after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a government backed by the Islamic extremist Hamas group, the US State Department legitimized the arrangement, declaring that it would work with the new government because it “does not include members affiliated with Hamas.”


Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh this week delivers a farewell speech for his former position as Hamas government, citing strength of resistance fighters against Israel. (Photo: Wissam Nassar/FLASH90)

What was saddest about Washington’s insistence on accepting Abbas’s paper-thin veneer over his government’s new nature — his “technocrat” ministers were all approved by Hamas — is that it represents only the Obama administration’s latest abrogation of leadership, logic and leverage at Israel’s expense. Rather than rushing to embrace a Palestinian government in which an unreformed Hamas is a central component, what was to stop the US conditioning its acceptance on a reform of Hamas? What was to stop Washington saying that it would be happy to work with Abbas’s new government, the moment its Hamas backers recognized Israel, accepted previous agreements and renounced terrorism? Not a particularly high bar. What was to stop the US making such a demand, one of tremendous importance to its ally Israel? Only its incomprehensible reluctance to do.

Unfortunately, however, such lapses and failures are not the exception when it comes to the US-Israel alliance of late. This administration has worked closely with Israel in ensuring the Jewish state maintains its vital military advantage in this treacherous neighborhood, partnering Israel in offensive and defensive initiatives, notably including missile defense. It has stood by Israel at diplomatic moments of truth. It has broadly demonstrated its friendship, as would be expected given America’s interest in promoting the well-being of the region’s sole, stable, dependable democracy. But the dash to recognize the Fatah-Hamas government was one more in a series of aberrations — words and deeds that would have been far better left unsaid or undone, misconceived strategies, minor betrayals.

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