Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Arab Spring Skipped Over The Palestinians--And It Didn't Land In Egypt Either

At a time when the world still seems to be convinced that the Middle East is going through an Arab Spring--including Obama, as he made a point of explaining in his Middle East speech--there appears to be a bit of an incongruity.

While all over the Middle East the people are rising up against corrupt, repressive regimes in an effort to replace them with democracy--the Palestinian Arabs see the two corrupt repressive regimes of Hamas and Fatah consolidated.

For all the talk of an Arab Spring, the Palestinian Arabs appear to have no share in this.

In No Springtime for the Palestinians, Sol Stern writes that in his speech, Obama did not include the Palestinians in his vision of Arab Democracy in the Middle East:
Do not the Palestinians themselves, at least as much as any of the other peoples of the Middle East, need a new beginning of consensual government? And might not a springtime of freedom among them blossom into a force for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land? Either the thought never occurred to the President or his advisers—a sign of criminal negligence—or it occurred and was, correctly, dismissed as fatal to their misbegotten plans for a rapid "solution" of the conflict with Israel.
And now we see that Egypt is going to be opening its border with the Hamas terrorist group: not exactly the sort of thing you would expect from a burgeoning democracy.

But with the rape of a reporter, the antisemitic posters, and of course the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood--the signs were already there that an Arab Spring of democracy does not automatically follow just because the old regime is thrown out.

Likewise, the Palestinian leadership are not automatically peace partners just because it is convenient. The Disengagement from Gaza was supposed to be the first step in creating an "Arab Spring" for Gazans.

It has not worked out that way.
And Fatah in the West Bank is only marginally better--Abbas's term ended over 2 years ago.

Obama was not willing to go out on limb on Hamas/Fatah, and we are beginning to see clearly that Egypt is no more headed for democracy than Hamas.

And as usual, it is Israel that will be facing the consequences.

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