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Jerusalem Viewpoints


No. 541     4 Nisan 5766 / 2 April 2006

U.S. Policy at a Crossroads: The Relevance of the
Roadmap in the Aftermath of the Hamas Victory

Yechiel Leiter

  • Mideast policy has been dictated by the Quartet-sponsored Performance-Based Roadmap, which was based on guidelines outlined by President Bush on June 24, 2002. A careful analysis of President Bush's speech, along with meticulous adherence to the Roadmap, might actually lead the way to a clearer policy toward Hamas.

  • President Bush did not categorically endorse Palestinian statehood under any circumstance. He made U.S. support conditional on the election by Palestinians of new leaders who not only recognize Israel but also choose democracy and freedom and join in the war against terror. "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror," President Bush asserted.

  • "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure," Bush said. The preconditions for Palestinian statehood have not been met. Hamas was what the new Palestinian leadership was supposed to dry up, outlaw, and dismantle. If Arafat, who had formally recognized and signed peace treaties with Israel, had to be removed before Palestinian statehood could be achieved, clearly Hamas was not the "new leadership" Bush had in mind.

  • A Palestinian state is not the goal of Hamas, the goal is Islam. Nowhere in the Hamas Charter is there mention of a Palestinian state. This point is crucial. The new Hamas foreign minister, Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, has explicitly stated in this regard: "The Islamists' view, which Hamas adheres to, is that a great Muslim state must be established, with Palestine being a part of it." Thus, any attempt to satisfy Palestinian nationalist hunger through sovereignty in "Palestine," or part of it, is pure folly to Hamas. Statehood as offered by the Roadmap is irrelevant.

  • The Hamas victory has emboldened Islamist terrorist insurgencies all over the world with a sense of reassured confidence that with enough violence they can succeed. Even the normally understated Economist has described the impact of the rise of Hamas as "the biggest victory for political Islam since Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini."



Reactions to the Hamas Victory

Confusion appears to best characterize the reaction of both the United States and Israel to the Hamas election victory in the Palestinian-administered territories. Israel's government changed its policy several times on the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority. Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni called PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas "irrelevant," as Hamas took power, yet Shimon Peres continued to meet with him. Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), has defined the ascendancy of Hamas as a "strategic threat to Israel," though acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert disagreed.1

In Washington, administration officials scrambled to assess the potential damage to U.S. policies and interests in the Middle East.2 President Bush reiterated that he would not work with Hamas, but called the Hamas victory a rejection of the "status quo" and a repudiation of the "old guard."3 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asserted that the U.S. position labeling Hamas a terrorist organization had not changed because the organization could "not have one foot in politics and the other in terror,"4 but was uncritical of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to Hamas leaders to make an official visit to Moscow.

The Quartet, a group representing Russia, the EU, the UN, and the U.S., also gave an uncertain response to the Hamas victory. An official statement by the group noted that the Palestinians "voted for change" but had not given up "their aspirations for peace and statehood." Yet the statement also stressed that "there is a fundamental contradiction between armed group and militia activities and the building of a democratic state."5


President Bush's Landmark Speech: The Enunciation of U.S. Policy on the Question of Palestinian Statehood

Mideast policy has been dictated by the Quartet-sponsored Performance-Based Roadmap, accepted by all relevant parties in the spring of 2003. The guidelines for the Roadmap were set by President Bush in a path-breaking speech on Mideast policy on June 24, 2002. A careful analysis of President Bush's speech, along with meticulous adherence to the Roadmap, might actually lead the way to a clearer policy toward Hamas.

In President Bush's June 24, 2002, speech, the U.S. endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state. Yet the speech - later used by the Quartet as the blueprint for the Roadmap - was not entitled by the White House as a call for Palestinian statehood. Instead, the speech was officially described as a call for "New Palestinian Leadership."6


Seeking Palestinian "Leaders Not Compromised by Terror"

A careful analysis of the speech reveals that President Bush did not categorically endorse Palestinian statehood under any circumstance. He made U.S. support conditional on the election by Palestinians of new leaders who not only recognize Israel but also choose democracy and freedom and join in the war against terror. "Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born," President Bush asserted. "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror (emphasis added). I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty."

The leadership referred to as "compromised by terror" was that of Yasser Arafat, who was already isolated in his Ramallah compound. "If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals," Bush continued, "America and the world will actively support their efforts." The reverse may also be true; if these goals are not pursued, then efforts for statehood may be thwarted.

Bush continued, "Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure (emphasis added)."

It follows that if Arafat, who had formally recognized and signed peace treaties with Israel, had to be removed before Palestinian statehood could be achieved, clearly Hamas was not the "new leadership" Bush had in mind.

President Bush discussed the linkage between Palestinian statehood and a new Palestinian leadership at a press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair just two days later on June 26, 2002, at the G8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada. "I meant what I said, that there needs to be change....I also made it plenty clear that if their [Palestinian] leadership is compromised by terror, we won't be on the path to peace."7 "I've got confidence in the Palestinian people when they understand fully what we're saying, that they'll make right decisions as to how we get down the road for peace," he added.8

Prime Minister Blair used the term "precondition" to describe the linkage between statehood and a peace-oriented Palestinian leadership. "[I]f we want this peace process to work there are certain clear preconditions. One, we've got to have leadership we can negotiate with that is serious about peace and resists and totally rejects terrorism....So if in the end you want, as we want...a viable Palestinian state, those are the preconditions....It's not a question of saying we're going to tell people who they elect or not elect - that's for them. But it's for us to say the consequences of electing people who aren't serious negotiating partners is that we can't move forward."9

At another joint news conference nearly two years later (April 16, 2004), Bush and Blair were asked how Israel's decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza would affect the Roadmap. Bush stipulated that "it's going to require a commitment by the Palestinian people to find leadership that is committed to peace and hope....As we gain confidence in a Palestinian leadership...further progress will be made."10

In a speech to AIPAC one month later (May 18, 2004), Bush again stressed the need for new leadership not compromised by terror: "The Palestinian people deserve democratic institutions and responsible leaders....[B]efore there can be two states, all parties must renounce violence and fight terror....First the Palestinian people must reject corrupt and failed leaders, and insist on a leadership committed to reform and progress and peace. Second, they must renounce terror and violence that frustrate their aspirations and take so many innocent lives."11


The Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Quartet Multilateralizes U.S. Policy

In the spring of 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell adopted a radically new framework for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather than preserving for the U.S. exclusively the role as the main diplomatic intermediary, the Bush administration agreed to forge a common approach with the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the UN Secretariat. Right after 9/11, British Prime Minister Tony Blair began arguing that progress in Arab-Israeli negotiations was a prerequisite for solidifying support for the war on terrorism, especially in the Arab world.12 Blair's repeated interventions with Bush finally bore fruit with the creation of the Quartet, which issued its first joint communiqué in April 2002.13

Essentially, the Quartet mechanism allowed Washington to provide the Europeans and the Russians a quid pro quo for their acquiescence to U.S. policy on Iraq in the UN Security Council. For a while, this policy seemed to work when the Security Council adopted Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002, that warned Iraq that it was in "material breach" of UN resolutions and faced "serious consequences" for its actions. But ultimately, the Security Council went no farther. The Quartet proved to be a poor instrument of policy in light of the anti-American positions that would surface in Paris, Berlin, and Moscow as the Iraq War commenced in March 2003.

On July 16, and again on September 17, 2002, the principles Bush laid out in his speech were actually adopted by the Quartet. However, these principles soon mutated into a practical program called the Roadmap, whose implementation was to be overseen and monitored by the Quartet. The Roadmap was formally presented to Israel and the PA in the wake of the appointment of Mahmud Abbas as prime minister of the PA by Arafat in January 2003. He was the "new leadership" Bush had in mind.

While some experts have dubbed the Roadmap "a poor translation of President Bush's speech,"14 and indeed the Sharon government accepted the document only after adding fourteen stipulations to it, the Roadmap did not backtrack on the linkage between a new democratic leadership and statehood made by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. The Roadmap is entitled "The Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," and the document's preamble clarifies the significance of the term "performance-based."15 "The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress....A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty."

Echoing Bush's warning, it stipulated that "non-compliance with obligations will impede progress." Phase 1 of the Roadmap required the Palestinian leadership to "issue an unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security, call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere and put an end to all incitement by official Palestinian institutions against Israel."

Inherent within the Roadmap is the understanding that without the implementation of phase 1, there is no movement to phases 2 and 3 in which the Palestinian state is to be realized. Lack of compliance in effect means that the Roadmap becomes a roadblock.


Hamas in President Bush's Mideast Vision

Hamas was also mentioned in President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002. He demanded that Hamas be dismantled, and that "every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel - including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah."16

On July 31, 2002, just two weeks after the Quartet's endorsement of the Bush speech, a Palestinian terror attack on the Frank Sinatra International Student Center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem took seven lives, five of them Americans. During a rally in Gaza City, Hamas took responsibility for the bombing. "This operation today is a part of a series of operations we will launch from everywhere in Palestine."17

In reaction, President Bush said: "First, I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack that took place in Israel. There are clearly killers who hate the thought of peace, and, therefore, are willing to take their hatred to all kinds of places, including a university....I also want to make it clear to the killers that it won't stop us from rallying the world to fight their kind of terror....I look forward to continuing to work with all responsible parties in the region, starting to insist that they work with us to stop this terror - use all their power to stop organizations such as Hamas from taking innocent life."18

In the ten months that followed, Hamas carried out ten homicide/suicide bombings that took the lives of seventy-six Israelis.19

In an attempt to revive the stalled Roadmap, Bush, Abbas, Sharon, and King Abdullah of Jordan met in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on June 4, 2003, where Abbas disavowed terror: "We repeat our renunciation, a renunciation of terror against the Israelis wherever they might be....We will exert all of our efforts...to end the militarization of the intifada....The armed intifada must end, and we must resort to peaceful means....Our goal is clear and we will implement it firmly and without compromise: a complete end to violence and terrorism."20

Seven days later, on June 11, 2003, a Hamas bomber exploded on a crowded Jerusalem bus, killing 17 people. President Bush responded: "It is clear there are people in the Middle East who hate peace...people who kill to make sure the desires...of a peaceful state, living side by side with Israel, do not happen. To the people in the world who want to see peace in the Middle East, I strongly urge all of you to fight off terror, to cut off money to organizations such as Hamas, to isolate those who hate so much that they're willing to kill to stop peace from going forward."21

On June 15, Bush told a press conference: "[T]here are people that want peace to go forward, and there are people that don't. And for those of us who want peace to go forward, we must combine our efforts to prevent people like Hamas from sabotaging peace....And so the mission of the free world, those who care for peace, is to deny the people like Hamas the ability to destroy and to kill....It is clear that the free world, those who love freedom and peace, must deal harshly with Hamas and the killers."22

At a July 29, 2003, press conference together with Prime Minister Sharon in Washington, Bush noted: "[T]he most effective campaign to enhance the security of Israel, as well as the security of peace-loving people in the Palestinian territories, is to get after organizations such as Hamas, the terrorist organizations that create the conditions where peace won't exist."23

On August 19, 2003, Hamas blew up another packed bus in Jerusalem, murdering twenty-three people, six of them children, and injuring over one hundred, forty of them children. Just hours prior to the attack, Bush had said: "I can assure you that they [the Israelis] are interested in dismantling organizations such as Hamas....I think that the Palestinian Authority needs to continue to work with the U.S. and others who are interested in dismantling terrorist organizations and ask for the help necessary so they can go and do what they need to do, which is dismantle and destroy organizations which are interested in killing innocent lives in order to prevent a peace process from going forward."24

More lethal Hamas attacks took place on September 9, 2003. This time fifteen Israelis were killed in two separate homicide bombings at a hitchhiking station at Tzrifim and a café in Jerusalem. On the following day, President Bush said: "The Roadmap is still there. The...most important condition for peace to prevail is for all parties to fight off terror, to dismantle organizations whose intent is to destroy the vision of peace....Nations need to cut off funding to terrorist groups."25

From the time Abbas made his public commitment to dismantle Palestinian terror organizations in Aqaba in 2003 until the next time he was welcomed at the White House on May 26, 2005, another 151 Israelis were killed in twenty-two different homicide bombings. Hamas was responsible for ten of those attacks in which ninety-three people died. At the time, President Bush repeated: "All who engage in terror are the enemies of a Palestinian state, and must be held to account."26 However, Abbas' approach was to reach "understandings" with the terror organizations, particularly Hamas.

At the time, President Bush rejected the option of prohibiting Hamas participation in the parliamentary elections. He was sure they would not win:

As elections go forward, of course, we want everybody to participate in the vote. There is something healthy about people campaigning, saying, this is what I'm for...maybe somebody will run on a war platform - you know, vote for me, I promise violence. I don't think they're going to get elected, because I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace. As a matter of fact, I think the people that campaign for peace will win. The goal is, of course, a Palestinian state based upon the rule of law, and you cannot have a democracy based on rule of law if you have armed bands of people who will use their weapons to try to achieve a political outcome.

Yet it was the use of "weapons to try to achieve a political outcome" that won Hamas its victory. The Hamas election campaign featured the successes of violence. Israeli disengagement from Gaza and northern Samaria were depicted as Hamas victories, as their relentless terror campaign was perceived as having driven out the Israelis. Campaign posters glorified the homicide bombers and the ideologues who sent them. In fact, the posters featured Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Azziz Rantisi alongside pictures of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Bana and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.27

The people that "campaigned for peace" did not win. Hamas, which in Bush's Mideast vision and under the Roadmap was to be dismantled by a "new Palestinian leadership," became that new leadership. And they attribute their victory to their use of terror.

The victory of Hamas representing the resistance agenda and winning 60% of the legislative council's seats [is due] to the success of resistance supported by the Palestinian people. At the time when other Palestinian parties adopting the "peace process" agenda failed to achieve any political accomplishment or realize any Palestinian demand despite regional and international support and those parties' offers of more than a chance for truce, the Palestinian resistance could expel the occupation from the Gaza Strip and force it to dismantle all of its 22 settlements in Gaza, and dismantle a number of settlements in the north of the West Bank with no conditions of concessions. This is considered to be a resounding Palestinian victory at this time of Arab and Islamic weakness. This, in fact, is the first time that the occupation withdraws from a part of the historic land of Palestine, marking the beginning of failure of the Zionist colonialist project in the face of Palestinian resistance.28


The Road Map and the Hamas Charter

Prior to President Bush's 2002 speech, U.S. diplomacy focused on interim agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. The nature of Palestinian self-government was left for final status negotiations. With the Bush/Quartet promise of statehood, the Palestinians had a clear picture of where the "peace process" was headed. But what was equally clear was what they were obliged to do to get there.

Up to this point there had been an internal diplomatic logic which said that as long as the final status of "Palestine" was enigmatic, the Palestinians could weave and duck on terrorism and even on meaningful recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Roadmap blew the fog off the political horizon. The Palestinians would have a full-fledged sovereign state, Israel would recognize that state, and that state would be a lawful liberal democracy. However, as a prerequisite, terror would first have to be eradicated - excised in practice and in theory - from the Palestinian diplomatic arsenal.


A Palestinian State Is Not the Goal of Hamas

A Palestinian state, though, is decidedly not the goal of Hamas; the goal is Islam. Nowhere in the Hamas Charter is there mention of a Palestinian state - not alongside of Israel, not even in place of Israel. Although it "strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine,"29 Hamas' ultimate goal is Islam.30 "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution, Jihad its path, and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief."31 The goal is not Palestinian "self-determination" or sovereignty. It is not a national purpose but a religious one in which "it joined its hands with those of all Jihad fighters for the purpose of liberating Palestine...for our struggle against the Jews."32 Nationalism exists only "as part and parcel of the religious faith."33 "For Palestine is an Islamic land,"34 and "we must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one."35

This point is crucial. The new Hamas foreign minister, Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, has explicitly stated in this regard: "The Islamists' view, which Hamas adheres to, is that a great Muslim state must be established, with Palestine being a part of it."36 Thus, any attempt to satisfy Palestinian nationalist hunger through sovereignty in "Palestine," or part of it, is pure folly to Hamas. Theirs is a religious thirst that can be quenched only by the extirpation of Israel and the submission of its Jews. Statehood as offered by the Roadmap is as irrelevant as the international conferences prescribed in phases 2 and 3 of the Roadmap that are intended to sanction statehood. "Peace initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith....There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad. The initiatives, proposals, and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility."37

According to Hamas, the land does not belong to the Palestinians but to Islam as a whole, just like other lands once conquered by Muslims. "This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari'a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This [norm] has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq."38

In keeping with this Islamic spirit, Hamas representatives have reiterated that the land they rule must be governed by the strict religious Shari'a codex.39

For Hamas, it is a "struggle against the Jews," not the Israelis, and the "purpose of liberating Palestine" is in the context of dissolving all the borders of nation-states whose boundaries divide the transnational Muslim nation. Hamas is but "one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers," which is "a world organization."40 "Its special dimension extends wherever on earth there are Muslims, who adopt Islam as their way of life,"41 because "the movement is a universal one."42

The core idea of Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas theology is that one religious caliphate must rule from India all the way across the Maghreb to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Balkans through Turkey all the way down to Yemen. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Mahdi Othman 'Akef, has laid out a grim future for the United States as well: "I expect America to collapse soon," adding: "I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America, because Islam has logic and a mission."43

The movement is also inherently a violent one. It rests on Jihad and Jihad throughout the Hamas Charter means violence. "Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies."44 The "struggle" is seen through the prism of historic battles between Muslim loyalists and infidels (i.e., Christians, Jews, and wayward Muslims) in which victory was always achieved through bloodshed. "Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith."45

It might take time, but Hamas has patience: "Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"46


The Hamas Victory Is Part of the Global Jihad

The geographic reach and violent depth of Hamas ideology could be seen prior to the Palestinian elections when pictures of Hamas leaders were displayed together with those of Islamist terrorists leading insurgencies all over the world, including Chechnya and Iraq. Furthermore, the Hamas victory has emboldened these terrorist insurgencies with a sense of reassured confidence that with enough violence they can succeed. The intent is clear on the Hamas website, which includes material in other languages used in conflict areas of the global Jihad, such as Russian and Urdu. Indeed, even the normally understated Economist has described the impact of the rise of Hamas as "the biggest victory for political Islam since Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini."47

The global significance of the Hamas victory was analyzed on an official Hamas website:

Everyone now recognizes that the time of retreat and weakness has come to an end and started to take the direction of steadfastness and strengthening the will of the peoples of this region who long for glory and freedom. The victory of Hamas enhances the Arab and Islamic call for ending the Zionist-American domination of this region and restoring the normal effective role of the Arab and Islamic nations among other nations of the world. Not far from Palestine, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has made huge progress in the parliamentary elections and won 88 seats despite all attempts of fraud, intimidation and detention. In Lebanon, the people and Lebanese resistance that defeated the Zionist occupation in south Lebanon stand strong and Syria stands as a strong fortress against American and international threats and siege. In Iraq, the American forces are suffering serious blows from the Iraqi resistance. And Iran rejects Washington's dictations and Israeli threats. So, the victory of Hamas further supports the resistance option in the region against its enemies and enhances the geopolitics agenda against the occupation in the east and the Arab world at large.48

In short, Hamas sees its victory as having a regional impact, and it would be a mistake to view the Hamas electoral success in strictly Palestinian terms. Thus, the leader of Syria's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Ali Bayanouni, spoke about an "Islamic tide" sweeping the Arab world in light of the results of the Egyptian and Palestinian elections. He also expressed close affinity to Hamas.49 Equally, in Jordan, the head of the Islamic Action Front - the legal representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Jordanian Parliament - used the Hamas electoral victory to demand "true democracy" from King Abdullah in order to facilitate an Islamist takeover of the Hashemite kingdom.50


A Virulently Anti-Semitic Movement

Even though Hamas promotes a wide-ranging and all-encompassing Islamic revolution, it still reserves a special place for the Jews. Hamas is a virulently anti-Semitic movement, as was Hasan al-Banna, the founder of its parent organization. In classic Goebbels style, Jews are depicted by Hamas as treacherous leeches who sap the world of its moral strength for their personal benefit. Jews are wealthy, and

This wealth [permitted them to] take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. They stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests...[use] the money to establish clandestine organizations...in order to destroy societies...to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein....They stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate...they also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading in war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state.51 Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what is said there.52

Two U.S. experts on terrorism who served on President Clinton's National Security Council, Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, conclude that the Hamas Charter is "genocidal" when it comes to its attitude toward Jews.53

It is no surprise that Hamas' parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, was sympathetic to the Axis powers during World War II. According to one internal account, its terrorist underground, known as "the secret apparatus," which established the paradigm for modern Middle Eastern terrorism, began with the assistance of officers from Nazi Germany.54


The Search for a New Political Paradigm

After years of incessant Palestinian terrorism and the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians, the government of Israel decided to count Arafat out as a partner for peace. First the U.S., and then, somewhat grudgingly, many Europeans followed suit. This forced them to find a new political paradigm that would be relevant in the pursuit of Mideast peace. Hence, President Bush's landmark speech endorsing Palestinian statehood, and the Roadmap that ensued, were not born in a vacuum.

At the same time that Israel rendered Arafat "irrelevant," a new foreign policy was emerging from the White House. As a result of the 9/11 attacks on America, President Bush formulated a foreign policy based on two pillars, the war against terrorism and the promotion of democracy around the world. In this light, a new policy for the Middle East also made sense. The U.S. would not use its military, as in Iraq, to liberate the Palestinian people from an anti-democratic, pro-terrorist leadership, but would use its diplomatic power to secure them an independent state; that is, if the Palestinians were to choose democracy and join the war against the terrorists. By choosing Hamas, the Palestinians in effect chose to reject Bush's offer and thereby rendered the Roadmap irrelevant.

The preconditions for Palestinian statehood have not been met. Hamas was what the new Palestinian leadership was supposed to dry up, outlaw, and dismantle. Instead, it became the new leadership. An organization that epitomizes the worst forms of anti-Semitism, that totally rejects democratic values, that is part of the Islamic struggle against the West, that sees a religious duty in eradicating the Jewish state, as President Bush said in the past, must be dealt with harshly.

Can an American administration rally the world against terrorism when it maintains a Mideast policy that promises to reward terrorism? Hardly. The Quartet, under whose auspices the Roadmap was issued, appears to be torn over how to react to the Hamas victory, with Russia hosting Hamas, France supporting the Russian move, and the U.S. seeking to maintain a firm counterterrorist policy with respect to Hamas. In the search for a new political paradigm for the future, one that reflects Bush's insistence on a Palestinian leadership "not compromised by terror," a new road with a different map must be found.

*     *     *

Notes

1. "Diskin: Hamas a Strategic Threat," ynetnews.com, February 20, 2006; see also Ma'ariv, March 1, 2006.
2. Glenn Kessler, "U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote," Washington Post, January 27, 2006, p. A15.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. www.whitehouse.org, speeches, June 24, 2002.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. White House, press releases, April 16, 2004.
11. White House, press releases, May 18, 2004.
12. Con Coughlin, American Ally: Tony Blair and the War on Terror (New York: Harper Collins, 2006), p. 156.
13. David Mandel, "Four-Part Disharmony: The Quartet Maps Peace," Middle East Quarterly (Summer 2003).
14. See, for example, speech by Israel's former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 21, 2006.
15. For full text of Roadmap, see www.mfa.gov.il/peace process/documents.
16. www.whitehouse.org, speeches, June 24, 2002.
17. FoxNews.com, August 1, 2002.
18. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, July 31, 2002.
19. August 4, 2002 - Bombing of bus #361 at Meron junction, 9 dead. September 19, 2002 - Bombing of bus #4 in downtown Tel Aviv, 6 dead. October 10, 2002 - Bombing of bus stop on Geha Rd., 1 dead. November 21, 2002 - Bombing of bus #20 in Jerusalem, 11 dead. March 5, 2003 - Bombing of bus #37 in Haifa, 17 dead. April 30, 2002 - Bombing of popular Tel Aviv nightclub, 3 dead. May 17, 2003 - Bombing at city square in Hebron, 2 dead. May 18, 2003 - Bombing of bus #6 in downtown Jerusalem, 7 dead. May 19, 2003 - Bombing at Afula shopping center, 3 dead. See www.wikipedia.org and www.idf.il/statistics/terror attacks.
20. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, June 4, 2003.
21. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, June 11, 2003.
22. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, June 15, 2003.
23. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, July 29, 2003.
24. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, August 19, 2003.
25. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, September 10, 2003.
26. www.whitehouse.org, press releases, May 26, 2005.
27. Prof. Martin Kramer, speech to Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 21, 2006.
28. "Implications of Hamas' Victory and the Challenges Ahead," February 21, 2006, www.Palestine-info.co.uk.
29. Hamas Charter, Article 6, www.palestinecenter.org.
30. Hamas Charter, Article 5.
31. Hamas Charter, Article 8.
32. Hamas Charter, Introduction.
33. Hamas Charter, Article 1.
34. Hamas Charter, Article 14.
35. Hamas Charter, Article 15.
36. Dore Gold, "America's Hamas Dilemma: Spreading Democracy or Combating Terrorism?" Jerusalem Issue Brief, November 1, 2005, www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-8.htm.
37. Hamas Charter, Article 13.
38. Hamas Charter, Article 11.
39. www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=s9&p1=1024.
40. Hamas Charter, Article 2.
41. Hamas Charter, Article 5.
42. Hamas Charter, Article 7.
43. "New Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Resistance in Iraq and Palestine is Legitimate," MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series #655, February 4, 2004.
44. Hamas Charter, Article 30.
45. Hamas Charter, Article 34.
46. Hamas Charter, Article 7.
47. "Political Islam: Forty Shades of Green," Economist, February 2, 2006.
48. "Implications of Hamas' Victory, op. cit.
49. Paul Taylor, "Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Scents Power," Reuters, March 20, 2006.
50. Jonathan D. Halevy, "And Now a Call for an Islamic Revolution in Jordan," News First Class (Hebrew), January 30, 2006; Thanassis Cambanis, "Jordan's Islamists See a Path to Political Power: Hamas' Victory Bouys Movement," Boston Globe, March 21, 2006, http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/03/21/jordans_islamists_see_a_path_to_political_power/
51. Hamas Charter, Article 22.
52. Hamas Charter, Article 32.
53. Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 193.
54. Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 31-32, esp. n. 66.

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Yechiel M. Leiter is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has served as Benjamin Netanyahu's Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Finance and as Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Education.


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