The Sun editorial “Mr. Abbas’ mission” (Feb. 13) is a triumph of wishful thinking over analysis. Its self-contradictions and omissions include:
* Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “would have to exercise the kind of statesmanship that has been sadly lacking among the Palestinians for generations” to lead a unity government of his Fatah movement and the terrorist Hamas to peace with Israel. “It’s too early to say” if he could.
It’s hardly too early to say the 74-year-old Mr. Abbas can’t and won’t. Yasser Arafat‘s right-hand man through more than 30 years of Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization mayhem, Mr. Abbas presides over a PA that celebrates terrorist “martyrs” at every opportunity. He personally rejected Israel’s 2008 offer of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state in return for peace.
The editorial appeared as leaders of the group visited Iran, seeking to assure their extremist patrons that “resistance” to Israel — the genocidal aim of both Hamas’ charter and Tehran’s mullahs — won’t be sacrificed in a Palestinian unity government. As its Islamization drive in the Gaza Strip indicates, Hamas is driven more by theology than practical politics.
* The Sun compares “signs of similar moderation of political Islam in Egypt, Tunisia” and elsewhere as Islamist parties come to power in the “Arab Spring.”
Tunisians even under their previous dictatorship were relatively conciliatory toward Israel. As for Egypt, on its Arabic-language Web site, as opposed to the English version, the Muslim Brotherhood reasserts its fundamentalist and anti-American positions; moderates have been expelled or left the movement’s leadership. Combined with the even more reactionary Salafists, Islamists overwhelmingly dominate Egypt’s new parliament, to the fears of the country’s large Coptic Christian minority. More likely Hamas would pull Fatah, still seen by many Palestinian Arabs as corrupt and ineffective — and kept in power in the West Bank largely through Israeli support — in its direction in a unity government.
Hope may spring eternal in “Mr. Abbas’ mission,” but it’s sparsely supported.
Eric Rozenman, Washington
The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.