Khaled Abu Toameh on the West Bank and Gaza

A must-read presentation by Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, at Totten’s place: A Minority Report from the West Bank and Gaza.

There are so many things that are obvious in this part of the world that international leaders, diplomats, all these people in the West who are dealing with the Palestinian issue turn a blind eye to and don’t want to see. Before we go to the Q&A and I take your questions, I want to give you one small example of how people in the West don’t want to understand what’s going on over here.

Before the January 2006 parliamentary election, the PLO people went to Condoleeza Rice and said “You are making a huge mistake by forcing us to go and have a free and democratic election. Our people don’t trust us. We are corrupt and we will lose. Hamas will win. So please let’s not hold an election. This is not the right time.”

“No, don’t worry,” she said. “Let Hamas participate in the election. Hamas will not win. Everything will be okay.”

They asked her how she knew Hamas was not going to win. She said she warned the Palestinians that if they vote for Hamas, she will punish them.

That warning, by the way, gave Hamas ten more points in the election. Hamas took Rice’s statement and made huge banners out of it that said Condoleeza Rice says no to Hamas.

So Rice, knowing that Hamas is a terrorist organization, did not set any preconditions for Hamas’ participation in the election. Even in Israel, by the way, Hamas candidates were openly campaigning in Israel, in Jerusalem. In East Jerusalem, okay, but in Israel. They were campaigning openly. They were saying “reforms, democracy, and by the way we want to destroy Israel.”

What made Rice, after they won the election, say Hamas is a terrorist organization? Before the election they were not a terrorist organization? She bears responsibility for the fact that Hamas is in power. It was a huge mistake. Instead of learning from their mistakes after Hamas came to power, they continued with the same mistakes. And look at the mess we are in now.

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