CLINTON CONFIRMATION: Israel/Palestine: What to Do If Hamas Gains Strength?
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), drawing the hearing to a conclusion, remembers being with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2005, and hearing about how he was expected to disarm Hamas when Hamas was more capable than his Fatah Party and much of the Palestinian Authority. “We have to recognize the threat that Hamas may become more powerful than Fatah as a result” of the Gaza war, which Kerry reiterates that Israel has a right to wage. If so, what then?
Clinton reiterates that the Obama transition doesn’t want to step on the Bush administration’s efforts. “I think your point, though, is incredibly important.” Obviously, “we do support Israel’s right to defend itself … Hamas did break the ceasefire … and the rockets are still being launched.” Working to a “durable ceasefire is going to be an initial challenge.”
But that’s not the answer. “The answer is to rebuild some sense of cooperation and, dare I say, trust and confidence-building measures” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (Not Hamas.) She adds that it’ll be a top priority for incoming national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones.