Monday, March 3, 2008

Gaza Pitfalls in Every Path

WASHINGTON — Ever since the militant Islamist organization Hamas took over Gaza eight months ago, President Bush’s peace plan for the Middle East has been to prop up the more moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the hopes that Palestinians would rally behind him as man who could bring them statehood and make Hamas irrelevant.

But Israel’s military and economic pressure on Gaza, the menacing rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and the ensuing chaos that reached new heights this weekend have highlighted a fundamental tangle in that plan: As long as Hamas controls Gaza, it can subvert negotiations between Israelis and moderate Palestinians whenever it sees fit.

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