On Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister criticized the West's "boycott" of the Palestinian government, saying the only way to force the new Hamas leadership to soften its militant ideology was to engage it.
Sergey Lavrov said the cutoff of international aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas' election victory will only destabilize the region further. Lavrov, whose country hosted a visiting Hamas delegation last month, said an aid freeze is the wrong way to try to force Hamas to meet international demands to recognize Israel, give up violence and acknowledge existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
"Of course Hamas must fulfill the demands made by international mediators. ... But to have that happen, it's necessary to work with Hamas, not boycott it," Lavrov told reporters after meeting his Jordanian counterpart, Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib. "The rejection of aid to the Palestinians only because they chose a government made up entirely of Hamas members in the elections is wrong," Lavrov said.
Oh Grozny, I have to admit being lectured by a Russian on ethical political behaviour is a rather novel twist but there are times I really wish I was a journalist asking the questions when Foreign Ministers speak. What I would have given to been in the room for that little lecture. I would have asked if this means Mother Russia is prepared to step up to the plate and let the Palestinian Authority suck off the Russian teat now. And just when will Russia be doing a complete about face in policy and extend the same courtesy and understanding towards their own homegrown Chechen terrorists now that the Russian have seen the softer, gentler side of Hamas?
There are two current canards that cause me to mumble under my breath and sputter my coffee. It is long past the time when the Palestinians need to be either patronized or infantized. I have never seen a more compelling case or call for some tough love. The second has been wide circulation since the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority. At no time in the lead-up to the Palestinian elections did Hamas attempt to hide from the Palestinian people; its’ charter, short or long-term goals. Nor did Hamas attempt to hide or white wash the blood of innocents from its collective hands. Instead, Hamas raised them in the air as proof of commitment.
If anything, it was just the opposite. Hamas’ claimed that the bloodthirstiness of its Martyrdom operations was the driving force behind the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Every single Palestinian who voted for Hamas knew exactly what Hamas was, and if the results of the Palestinian election is any guide, the majority of Palestinian people were more than a little a-okay with that. There are many who have taken up the position as official Palestinian Apologistas in the West who have tried (rather successfully if any reading of main stream papers is an accurate guide) to sell the idea that a vote cast for Hamas was not a vote for Hamas, but a vote against the Fatah/PLO’s innate corruption. Really Now? This isn’t Kansas but the Middle East. Corruption and bribery have been raised to the level of a fine art and is mother’s milk for what passes as successful governance.
Furthermore, every single poll of the Palestinian people shows an overwhelming level of support for the violence of barbarism that has been perpetrated against the Israelis in the name of the alleged struggle for Palestinian statehood. I would suggest that average Palestinian voter perceived the PLO/Fatah under Abbas was lacking the necessary fire in the belly and thirst for martyrdom that Arafat professed to possess regularly when he lead the PLO/Fatah. If anything, the prestige of the PLO/Fatah fell dramatically under Abbas’ tenure and you could say that this was strictly a vote for blood and more blood.
Hamas did not dupe the voters and the voters knew exactly what they were voting for. Those same ordinary Palestinians, who western leaders claim to be so solicitous of their welfare, are the same people who voted overwhelmingly for an organization that is committed to undertake genocide by any means necessary. While Western governments are prepared to honour the choices of the people, how exactly does that make them hypocrites by refusing to bankroll a genocide or translate into an unethical action?
I can understand the Russians being miffed. They have been gung-ho to sell the Palestinian Authority attack helicopters and heavy armory, and if the West isn’t picking up the tab Hamas’ has little credit to burn.