JPod, on Hamas, I’m drawing on an excellent debate on the democratization issue published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Middle East Quarterly: “Democracy Is About More Than Elections.” Here’s the relevant exchange between Dan Pipes and Robert Satloff:
Pipes: Would you have excluded Hamas from the Palestinian elections?
Satloff: The issue is not exclusion but rather definition of ground rules. The White House should have insisted on the implementation of the requirements that are in the Oslo accords. After all, it was the Oslo accords that created the body for which the elections were held. The Oslo accords mandated that parties and candidates cannot participate if they advocate violence, racism, or non-peaceful means to achieve political aims. If a party wants to stipulate that it has given up that agenda, that’s fine. But Washington did not even try. Alternatively, U.S. policymakers could have tied Hamas participation to the same demands Washington is applying to the Hamas-led government today—recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, and acceptance of previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. It is absurd that U.S. policymakers did not make Hamas’s participation in the 2005 political process conditional upon accepting the same requirements demanded of the Palestine Liberation Organization for the previous quarter century.