Something strange happened over the weekend, and I am still trying to figure it all out.
In a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz chastised Moscow for legitimizing Hamas by inviting leaders of the terror group to talks in the Russian capital later this month.
Since Hamas’ overwhelming victory in last month’s Palestinian elections, Israel has been trying to build an informal international coalition against dealing with the Hamas-led Palestinian government currently in formation.
As one of the key members of the Quartet, Russia’s decision to deal directly with Hamas is of course a blow to Israel’s efforts (so much for reaping diplomatic gains from the Gaza withdrawal….).
In any event – here is the part that is confusing: It was 13 years ago that Israel’s government legitimized Yasser Arafat and the PLO, conferring recognition on the terrorist group and saving it from collapse. This was done despite the great damage it caused, and continues to cause, to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
Indeed, up until the present moment, the Government continues to recognize the Palestinian Authority, despite its active participation and involvement in anti-Israel terror (including last Thursday’s incident at the Erez crossing, where terrorists sought to kill Israeli soldiers).
Given that’s the case, how does Mr. Mofaz expect to convince the Russians to avoid dealing with one group of Palestinian terrorists, when Israel is openly dealing with another? Doesn't he realize the inherent absurdity of his position?
Don't get me wrong – there is no excuse for the Russian stance vis-a-vis Hamas, which is both immoral and short-sighted, and is clearly aimed at undermining the US and Israel’s position.
But there is no doubt that if the government’s policy was based on moral clarity, rather than mulish pragmatism, its message abroad would resonate more convincingly.
That, at least, one would hope, Mr. Mofaz should be able to grasp.