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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Nisan 3, 5767, 3/22/2007

      Embracing a Terrorist Unity Government



      It is simply scandalous – though hardly surprising – that so many European governments would rush to fawn all over a terrorist regime dedicated to Israel's destruction. But what is truly incomprehensible is that the US would play along with this charade too

      Well, it didn't take long for Western governments to lose their resolve and begin talking with the Hamas-Fatah terrorist unity government.

      The ink had barely dried on this unholy alliance between the warring Palestinian factions, when senior diplomats began beating a path to the doors of senior Palestinian ministers.

      The first to break the taboo against meeting with members of the Hamas-dominated government was Norway's deputy foreign minister, who smiled alongside Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on Monday in a disgraceful display of political pandering.

      That very same day, Hamas of course claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that wounded an Israeli civilian near the crossing point with Gaza. But that didn't seem to bother the Norwegians one bit.

      Then, on Tuesday, the US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Jacob Walles, traveled to Ramallah to sip coffee with Palestinian Finance Minister Salem Fayyad. A senior European Union envoy came to town the next day, and a slew of officials – from the Belgian and Swedish Foreign Ministers to the ambassadors of Russia and Switzerland – have now declared that they too will be holding talks with the new Palestinian regime in the coming days.

      It is simply scandalous – though hardly surprising – that so many European governments would rush to fawn all over a terrorist regime dedicated to Israel's destruction.

      But what is truly incomprehensible is that the US would play along with this charade too.

      Hamas, like Al-Qaeda and the Sunni insurgents in Iraq, are a thuggish gang of murderers. Conferring legitimacy upon them by holding diplomatic contacts, press conferences and photo-opportunities with them is not only immoral – it is counterproductive. It sends them the message that they can continue to use violence with impunity, without even being thrown out of the diplomatic cocktail party circuit.

      Shame on Europe, and on America too, for embracing – however partially and reluctantly – the government led by Hamas.