Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Gaza: the EU’s Split Personality and America’s Failed UN Human Rights Council Experiment

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the course of the Gaza war, several key European leaders have made tough, sensible statements supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and demanding a cease fire that does not give in to Hamas demands. Chancellor Merkel said Germany “stand[s] by the side of Israel” and noted that the weapons used by Hamas were of “a completely new quality.” French President Hollande said Israel had the right to use “all the necessary measures” to protect itself from rockets and missiles. Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said “Everybody in the UK and the west is appalled by the scenes coming out of Gaza but every country has the right to defend itself against attack.” Read more »

Gaza: More Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, July 19, 2014

With Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry arriving in Cairo today, there will be lots of talk about a cease-fire deal. It is important that the United States keep Egypt in the forefront, and keep using the term “cease-fire.”

As to Egypt, it is not only that the Egyptian government shares our own view of Hamas as a terrorist group whose influence and military capabilities must be fought. That alone is a reason for the United States to want Egypt, not Qatar or Turkey, to be central. It is also that Egypt has genuine national security interests at stake here because it is a neighbor to Gaza. Terrorist activities in Gaza and Sinai matter to Egypt in a way that they do not to Qatar or Turkey. Any agreement that improves Hamas’s chances of importing more weaponry harms Egypt’s security, and the Egyptians have a right to a say in this. Read more »

Casualties in Gaza

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 16, 2014

International concern for casualties in Gaza is growing, as the death toll there exceeds 200. And most of the casualties are civilians, say various left-wing and anti-Israel news sources–as well as, of course, Hamas itself. And, unsurprisingly, the United Nations: “77 per cent of fatalities since the start of Operation Protective Edge on 7 July have been civilians.” Read more »

Why Hamas Wants an Invasion

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In rejecting the Egyptian proposal for a cease fire, Hamas appears to be rejecting the only way to avoid an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza. It is still possible that a cease fire will be put back together today, but time is running out to avoid that ground attack. Israel cannot keep 40,000 reservists sitting around for weeks while Hamas rockets fly. Read more »

Why Secretary Kerry Should Come Home

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 14, 2014

Secretary of State Kerry will go to Cairo on Tuesday, it seems, but it isn’t clear why. To push a Gaza cease-fire, the press reports, but his presence there will not help.

Why not? After all, he was successful just now in Kabul in helping negotiate a deal between the two presidential candidates. That showed energy, determination, and negotiating prowess. Read more »

Why Did Hamas Provoke a War?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why?

When increased levels of rocket fire began about a week ago, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu responded with restraint. He sent clear messages to Hamas in public statements, and via Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, that he wanted no war, and no incursion into Gaza; if the rocket attacks ended, this confrontation would be over. Read more »