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Resetting Russia in the Middle East



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I’ve been in Malta the last few days for a conference on Palestinian-Israeli peace sponsored by the Russians. The point the Russians wish to project is that Russia is a superpower and should play a more prominent role in the region (quite bluntly at the expense of the United States). The conference is being conducted under Chatham House rules, and so I can’t write about who said what. That said, there are many Palestinian officials here — mostly from Fatah but also from religious circles — and their viewpoints are clear:

  • The United States has never helped Palestinians
  • The problems with the United States are due largely to Zionist control of Congress

The Obama administration continues to underwrite the Palestinians — not only Fatah in the West Bank, but also Hamas in Gaza. While Obama doesn’t give Hamas money directly, by funding Hamas-staffed NGOs in Gaza, he in effect enables Hamas to avoid accountability for its own choice to prioritize violence over development. If the Palestinians are so ungrateful as to not even recognize American contributions, it may be time to end them. Certainly, it may be true that the Palestinians feign gratitude when they see Obama or Secretary of State Clinton, but rule number one of the peace process is that all parties should be held accountable not only for what they say when American officials are present, but also for what they say when American officials are not present.



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