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.

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Showing posts for "Palestinian Authority"

Gaza: More Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams

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

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 »

Will Hamas Choose War?

by Elliott Abrams

As the United States enters the July Fourth weekend, the Hamas leadership in Gaza faces a difficult and potentially important decision.

The last couple of years have hurt Hamas. The level of support it receives from Iran has declined, so it is short of cash. The Egyptian Army has closed the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza, further hurting the Gaza economy and Hamas’s tax revenues. The kidnappings in the West Bank last month turned into a disaster for Hamas: instead of having captives to trade for Israeli prisoners, Hamas was condemned universally for the crimes and suffered severe blows to its organization in both the West Bank and Gaza. Read more »

Facts on the Ground: the Israeli Settlement Slowdown

by Elliott Abrams

Criticism of construction in Israeli settlements has grown in the last five years, not least in Washington–but in this same period Israel has been focusing more and more of the construction in less and less of the West Bank. In a new article at the Foreign Affairs web site entitled “Facts on the Ground: Inside Israel’s Settlement Slowdown,” Uri Sadot and I explain the story Here are some excerpts: Read more »

The New Palestinian Government

by Elliott Abrams

In this week’ s edition of  The Weekly Standard, an article entitled “Dangerous Unity,”  I discuss the new Palestinian government. Here’s the basic argument:

The new PA government is a non-party, “technocratic” cabinet– and not a Hamas government or one with Hamas participation. For that reason I think the Israeli official reaction is a mistake: it treats this government exactly as it would treat a true coalition government of Fatah and Hamas, where Hamas held seats in the PA parliament and held ministerial or vice-ministerial positions in the government. Read more »

Still the Palestinian Authority Glorifies Terror

by Elliott Abrams

It is Israel’s Memorial Day today, a good context in which to note that still now–in 2014, and after months of negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry–the Palestinian Authority refuses to stop glorifying terror.

Palestine Media Watch reports on the latest of the endless series of PA actions that do this. On August 9, 2001, at about 2 pm, a suicide bomber named Izz Al-Din Al-Masri blew himself up in the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, killing 15 people–7 of them children, as might have been predicted in a pizza parlor–and wounding 130. It’s hard to think of a better definition of a merciless terror attack than this. Al-Masri’s remains were transferred from Israel to the PA last week, so what did the PA do?  Read more »

Aid to the Palestinians: Why Rand Paul is Wrong

by Elliott Abrams

Senator Rand Paul has tried to attain some pro-Israel credentials by introducing S. 2265, the “Stand With Israel Act of 2014.” The bill would cut off every cent of aid to the Palestinian Authority unless various conditions were met. As Paul put it, “Today, I introduced legislation to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon the new unity government putting itself on the record recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and agreeing to a lasting peace.” The bill covers “the Palestinian Authority, or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization.” Read more »

Will Kerry Continue the Jerusalem-Ramallah Shuttle If Hamas and Fatah Unite?

by Elliott Abrams

Secretary of State Kerry has put enormous effort into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Most recently, there has been talk of a three-way deal wherein Israel releases 426 prisoners (some of them murderers, and some of them citizens of Israel), the United States releases the spy Jonathan Pollard, and the PLO agrees to stay at the negotiating table for a year. Read more »