Gleanings, 28.04.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Jerusalem Post: ‘Egypt to permanently open Rafah border crossing’

Egyptian FM Elaraby tells Al-Jazeera that Gaza crossing could be opened within 7 to 10 days; “steps taken to alleviate suffering of Palestinians.” The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza will open on a permanent basis within seven to ten days, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby told Al-Jazeera during an interview Thursday. He said during the interview that steps would be taken in order to alleviate the “suffering of the Palestinain people.”

PowerLine: Birth of a negation

From day one of the Obama administration, Glenn Reynolds has asserted that a rerun of the Carter era is a best-case scenario. Obama’s Middle East diplomacy provides a striking illustration of Glenn’s proposition. Carter’s bumbling support of an all-party peace process including the Soviet Union seemed to have something to do with Sadat and Begin seizing the initiative to come to terms on their own and cut the ground out from under Carter’s plan.

By contrast, Obama’s bumbling has led to the preliminary agreement between Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government and hold elections. Mahmoud Abbas publicly professed that he felt Obama hung him out to dry with the Sturm und Drang over apartment construction in Jerusalem. What was the poor guy to do?

Moreover, as Ronald Radosh observes, the folks now running the show in Egypt even helped facilitate the beautiful coming together between Fatah and Hamas. The former Egyptian prime minister, who somehow had to go, used to be a stalwart opponent of Hamas.

Hamas is constitutionally dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The establishment of a Palestinian national unity government does not mean that Hamas will recognize Israel or will participate in peace negotiations, the senior Hamas official and a member of the Hamas delegation to the Cairo discussions (Mahmoud Zahar) said overnight Wednesday in Cairo.

“Our plan does not involve negotiations with Israel or recognizing it,” Zahar said. “It will be impossible for an interim government to take part in the peace process with Israel,” he said. Thanks for clearing that up.

Will the Palestinian security forces trained and funded by the United States now come under Hamas control? And what about the hundreds of millions of dollars forked over by American taxpayers to support the Palestinian Authority? Jennifer Rubin has a timely report.

If Congress takes the lead in cutting off the Palestinian Authority, as Rubin’s report

Lee Smith: Crack-up

The Obama Administration’s cautious Syria policy is not pragmatic and realist; it is, rather, an ideological fantasy. The White House is worried not about what happens to U.S. interests after Assad, but about how to salvage a campaign promise that has been thwarted by reality. The Obama White House is sheltering Assad for the same reason it was slow to support Iran’s green movement when it took to the streets in June 2009. Just as Obama held out hope for talking to the Islamic Republic, he still wants to engage Syria. The Obama Administration’s entire Middle East policy is premised on getting Damascus back to the negotiating table with Israel. Accomplishing that goal, the administration believes, will not only win the United States the favor of the Arab and Muslim masses, but it will also drive a wedge between Syria and its ally Iran.

… Nonetheless, the Obama White House has no other tricks up its sleeve in the Middle East. The Palestinian track has become reduced to Washington, the one-time regional power-broker, now petitioning Abbas to refrain from unilaterally announcing statehood. The hopelessness of the Israeli-Palestinian track is one reason why the administration keeps insisting Assad live up to his billing in Washington as a “reformer.” In reality, Assad put away any thought of reform a little less than a year after he took power following his father Hafez’s death in 2000. The so-called Damascus Spring was short-lived because Assad, only 35 at the time, knew then what the 82-year-old Mubarak would only understand when it was too late—opening the door to reform gives your opponents enough leverage to push it wide open and toss you out.

In the Arena: Right before he left Syria Thursday, American student Daniel Streitfeld sent us his impressions of a country in turmoil

I had a very interesting conversation today with my Arabic tutor – a young, well educated, relatively liberal, fluent English-speaking Damascene woman. We started discussing the ‘situation’ and I quickly became shocked at her views.

In the course of an hour, she told me that she thought the U.S. and Israel were inciting the protests, that the situation in Der’a was being blown out of all proportion (she told me in fact it was confined to a very small area of the city), that the U.S. and Europe were glad to see Syrians die, and she also wondered why the foreign press wasn’t emphasizing that not all of the deaths were of protesters (some of them were soldiers as well, she reminded me).

What scared me was that she had these views even given how young and internet-savvy and educated she was. There’s just an incredibly large gulf between what many Syrians believe, or dupe themselves into believing, and the reality on the ground.

I just kept staring at her like she was a brain-washed zombie. Many Syrians just don’t want to (or can’t) accept what’s going on here, don’t want to admit that there are people throughout Syria (and the entire Middle East) who have legitimate grievances and are addressing them forcefully. It’s just scary.

Jerusalem Post: ‘Egypt to permanently open Rafah border crossing’

Egyptian FM Elaraby tells Al-Jazeera that Gaza crossing could be opened within 7 to 10 days; “steps taken to alleviate suffering of Palestinians.” The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza will open on a permanent basis within seven to ten days, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby told Al-Jazeera during an interview Thursday. He said during the interview that steps would be taken in order to alleviate the “suffering of the Palestinain people.”

PowerLine: Birth of a negation

From day one of the Obama administration, Glenn Reynolds has asserted that a rerun of the Carter era is a best-case scenario. Obama’s Middle East diplomacy provides a striking illustration of Glenn’s proposition. Carter’s bumbling support of an all-party peace process including the Soviet Union seemed to have something to do with Sadat and Begin seizing the initiative to come to terms on their own and cut the ground out from under Carter’s plan.

By contrast, Obama’s bumbling has led to the preliminary agreement between Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government and hold elections. Mahmoud Abbas publicly professed that he felt Obama hung him out to dry with the Sturm und Drang over apartment construction in Jerusalem. What was the poor guy to do?

Moreover, as Ronald Radosh observes, the folks now running the show in Egypt even helped facilitate the beautiful coming together between Fatah and Hamas. The former Egyptian prime minister, who somehow had to go, used to be a stalwart opponent of Hamas.

Hamas is constitutionally dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The establishment of a Palestinian national unity government does not mean that Hamas will recognize Israel or will participate in peace negotiations, the senior Hamas official and a member of the Hamas delegation to the Cairo discussions (Mahmoud Zahar) said overnight Wednesday in Cairo.

“Our plan does not involve negotiations with Israel or recognizing it,” Zahar said. “It will be impossible for an interim government to take part in the peace process with Israel,” he said. Thanks for clearing that up.

Will the Palestinian security forces trained and funded by the United States now come under Hamas control? And what about the hundreds of millions of dollars forked over by American taxpayers to support the Palestinian Authority? Jennifer Rubin has a timely report.

If Congress takes the lead in cutting off the Palestinian Authority, as Rubin’s report

PowerLine: While Obama played Oprah

At his birth certificate press conference yesterday, Obama put it this way: “We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have more important things to do. I have more important things to do.” Then he took off for Chicago to put in some “important” face time on Oprah’s show.

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