The Rubin Report
29 October '10
A reader asks what I meant when I wrote:
"Should I mention the total reversal of U.S. policy on Hamas from trying to undermine that radical Islamist group's rule in the Gaza Strip to believing Hamas will fall if Gaza becomes prosperous?"
Here's my answer:
From the time Hamas seized the Gaza Strip until last summer, the U.S. government supported a strategy of trying to bring down the Hamas government. It did this by both political isolation and supporting embargos to minimize Gaza's imports and exports. The idea was that weakening Gaza's economy would weaken Hamas's rule.
At the same time, by lavishing aid on the PA-ruled West Bank, the United States and its allies would show that West Bankers were much better off because they were ruled by peace-oriented moderates. In other words, West Bankers would support the PA rather than Hamas because they were materially better off; Gazans would yearn for (and support a return of) PA rule because they were much worse off.
After the Gaza flotilla incident in 2010, however, President Barack Obama declared a new policy--though he never identified it explicitly as a new policy. Now, the US would provide a lot of aid to Gaza in the belief that it became more prosperous the citizens--apparently a strengthened middle class and businessmen--would bring down the regime in Gaza. Although they never said this explicitly, the implication seemed to be that they expected something like what happened in Eastern Europe in opposition to Soviet control and Communist rule.
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