Virtual Talmud

Just when you get tired of reading the same depressing Middle East story, a new even more depressing one emerges. Rabbi Grossman hits it on the head when she points to the failure of leadership surrounding the recent developments in the PA territories where Hamas has overtaken Fatah forces in Gaza. As noted by the Council on Foreign Relation’s Noah Feldman, the breakdown in the Middle East is all about three world leaders whose base of support is more eroded than the ozone layer.
Only now that things have gone completely out of control are Bush, Olmert, and Abbas sitting down together and trying to help each others’ causes. But the recent communications between the three leaders have only highlighted the extent of the dysfunction and confusion in recent Palestainian-Israeli relations. While I am all for Israel and the U.S. trying to prop up the remaining West Bank infrastructure of Fatah, I am not sure that secular Arabs who hate Israelis will be any easier to make peace with than religious Arabs who hate Israelis.
Is it just me or does anyone understand why Israel withheld $500 million of collected taxes and military support for Abbas and Fatah over the last year, but now only after the collapse of Abbas’ government and authority have decided to hand it over to him with almost strings attached? Why now is Olmert coming to Abbas’ support when for the last year and half he did everything to undermine and prevent his government from succeeding? As usual nothing seems to make sense in the Middle East.

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