The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, June 06, 2003

The Middle East road map to peace is encountering some bumpy terrain, as expected. The latest, and perhaps critical, setback is Hamas's refusal to go along with the Palestinian Authority on provisions .

What's not always apparent to casual observers--although most knowledgable people know this--is that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups are not controlled by the Palestinian government. This is a crucial fact. The thing is, if Hamas had quickly fallen in line with Mahmoud Abbas plans, that would have been a strong indication that the Palestinian Authority was in at least partial control of terrorist activities. Paradoxically, this would have de-legitimized the government by confirming Israel's suspicions, and souring world opinion. While the Hamas pullback may ultimately scrap the road map, it does give a temporary boost to the Authority, at least as far as outside support goes. Support among the Palestinians is a more nebulous matter.