Were you as intrigued as I was by Amira Hass’s piece on Haaretz’s front page today (Sunday, February 12)?
It’s an item that ought to be read – carefully.
Hass – perhaps the country’s foremost pro-Palestinian, Israeli-born journalist – describes a closed-door meeting of the Quartet (the UN, US, EU & Russia) which took place on January 30 in London.
Also attending was former US president Jimmy Carter, in his capacity as having been a “senior” monitor of the Palestinian elections.
A quick aside. Years ago, I interviewed the late Rabbi Alexander Schindler in connection with research I was doing on his tenure as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations during the Carter years.
Schindler, a Reform rabbi and liberal Democrat, told me in no uncertain terms that Carter was the only president he would classify as an out-and-out Jew-hater. I’ve never forgotten that.
Back to London.
Carter used his Quartet guest appearance, according to Hass, to denounce Israeli policies and to criticize the US for coddling the Jewish state.
Then Carter urged the Quartet to open negotiations with Hamas. Hass does not tell us how Condoleezza Rice reacted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavorov, Hass reports, also said a few nice words about Hamas.
One thing that emerges out of Hass’s description of the meeting is that the Quartet was (all along) far from united in backing Washington’s “no talk” stance on Hamas. Not just Russia, but Kofi Annan and the EU’s Javier Solana also wanted to go soft on Hamas.
What this illuminates for me is that all the anger at Putin because of his plans to invite Hamas to Moscow is wasted.
Pundits were asking why Russia was “breaking” with the Quartet, and speculating that Moscow wanted to re-establish the foothold in the region that the USSR once enjoyed. There’s something to that, perhaps.
But if Hass is right – Russia’s actions are in essential harmony with the Quartet’s view of Hamas.
If anyone is out of step with the “international community” it is Washington.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Thank you Amira Hass
Politico-Strategic Briefing... Enhance and deepen your understanding of Israel...Go beyond the 24/7 news cycle... Elliot Jager is a Jerusalem-based journalist, former NYU political science lecturer and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report. He is a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily (Mosaic). His 2017 book, The Balfour Declaration Sixty-Seven Words – 100 Years of Conflict told the story of what is, arguably, the most important political letter of the 20th century and why it still matters. Elliot will customize his briefings to suit your interests and schedule. He can meet you over breakfast before you start your day of touring or when you are back at your hotel.
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