The White House believes that the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas “isn’t necessarily a bad thing” and could ultimately strengthen the hand of President Mahmoud Abbas to reach a peace agreement on behalf of the entire Palestinian people.
In a closed briefing on Friday to members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, President Obama’s Middle East adviser Philip Gordon admitted that Washington was surprised by the agreement and disappointed by its “unhelpful” timing. Gordon said that Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. representatives expressed their displeasure to Abbas and reiterated that the Administration would cut off aid to a Palestinian government that did not abide by the Quartet’s three conditions of opposition to terror and recognition of Israel and past agreements.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the Administration also has a “glass half full” view of the controversial deal between the two rival Palestinian factions. Gordon told the Jewish representatives that it would be very difficult to achieve a peace agreement with “half a Palestinian entity” and not with those who are under the rule of Hamas. You can’t make peace with only a part of the Palestinian people, Gordon said.
And you can’t make peace with Hamas at all. Which means you can’t make peace with Fatah either. But it will still all be Israel’s fault… according to John Kerry and Barack Obama.
The U.S. does not oppose new Palestinian elections, and it will judge any new Palestinian coalition by its deeds, not by its words, he said.
Which means it won’t judge it all.
But what does Philip Gordon think is an obstacle to peace, if he doesn’t think Hamas is an obstacle? Jewish houses.
Philip Gordon, the National Security Council coordinator for Middle East policy, emphasized perceived Israeli transgressions in describing the difficulties afflicting renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in an address Tuesday evening to the annual gala dinner of the American Task Force on Palestine.
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement expansion,” Gordon said, an apparent reference to new housing starts announced by Israel in recent weeks.
Hamas, not a problem. Jewish houses, major obstacle to peace.