The Cultural attaché to the US embassy in Beirut, Ryan Gliha, stated that the US still views Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The White House, meanwhile, confirmed that it was renewing sanctions on Hamas, saying that it was “a foreign terrorist who [threatens] to disrupt the Middle East peace process.” So the US views Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organization. Shocking.
Three minor points:
1) I would like to know exactly what the sanctions on Hamas are. The Israeli blockade pretty much blocks everything from entering Gaza. Is it just forbidding Americans to conduct business with Hamas or to give it any aid?
2) One could easily make the argument that Israel is “threatening to disrupt the Middle East peace process” much more than Hamas. Hamas, after all, is pushing for a ceasefire with Israel and trying to reconcile with Fatah. Israel is planning on staying in the West Bank even if there is peace, refusing to freeze settlement construction (particularly in East Jerusalem) and refusing to make concessions to the Palestinians. Both US President Obama and the special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, have publicly voiced displeasure at the PA and Israel for what they consider to be a lack of effort. Israel’s “lack of bold gestures” has led some to question if Netanyahu is holding up the process on purpose.
3) Sanctions just don’t work. Hamas has seen US sanctions since 1995. They won a free and fair election in 2006. They control half of Palestine. US sanctions and the Israeli blockade of Gaza have only served to weaken the moderates in the organization. Hamas becomes less radical (since 2006) and US sanctions and the Israeli sanctions remain in place. Why become less radical if it doesn’t help anything?
None of this is surprising though.