Barack Obama vs. International Law

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US President Barack Obama consistently couches his demand that Israel prohibit Jewish people from constructing or expanding our homes and communities in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in legal-sounding language.



Obama has called settlements “illegitimate.” And he has said that Israel “has obligations under the road map,” while referring disparagingly to “settlements that, in past agreements, have been categorized as illegal.”



Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell have repeatedly uttered similar statements.



By characterizing its demand that Israel prohibit Jews from building homes in Israel’s capital city and its heartland as a legal requirement, the Obama administration portrays Israel as an international outlaw. After all, if building homes for Jews is a crime, and Israel is not prohibiting Jews from building homes, then Israel is at best guilty of enabling a crime to take place, and at worst, it is a criminal state.



It makes good political sense for the Obama administration to make its case against Israel in this fashion. According to a survey of US public opinion published in early 2006 by the Boston Review, whereas only 7 percent of Democrats support going to war to spread democracy – versus 53% of Republicans; 71% of Democrats – versus 36% of Republicans – support going to war to help the United Nations “uphold international law.” What this poll shows is that for Obama supporters, the idea that Israel should be treated poorly because it is in breach of international law resonates deeply.



The problem with the Obama administration’s characterization of a ban on Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as an Israeli legal obligation is that Israel has never taken upon itself a legal obligation to prohibit such building activities. Israel has never signed an agreement that has characterized any Jewish communities as “illegal.”



Moreover, both former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s chief of staff Dov Weisglass and former president George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for the Middle East Elliot Abrams have gone on record stating that Sharon’s much vaunted decision to curtail Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (never Jerusalem), in line with the road map negotiating framework, was based on a series of explicit understandings with the Bush administration that spelled out the scope of Jewish building that Israel would maintain for the duration of the peace process. As Abrams wrote on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal, “Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them…”



Then, too, since the road map was approved as a mere cabinet decision – as opposed to an international agreement – the Netanyahu government has no legal obligation to actively advance it. Indeed, if it wishes, it can abrogate Israel’s acceptance of the document at any time simply by calling for another vote.



More importantly perhaps from the Obama administration’s perspective is that the road map itself lacks the force of international law. Although it was adopted by the Security Council, it was not adopted as an internationally binding document under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Consequently, Israel has no international legal obligation to end Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem.



Like the US, Israel is a signatory to the 1976 International Convention for Civil and Political Rights, which among other things prohibits all forms of discrimination against people on the basis of religion and nationality.



Consequently, Israel is barred from discriminating specifically against Jews who wish to build homes on legally controlled lands in Judea and Samaria. As a binding treaty, this convention takes precedence over the nonbinding road map. Indeed, given the road map’s prejudicial position on Jewish building it can be reasonably argued that the road map itself calls for a breach of international law.



Finally, there is always the claim made by Israel’s critics that Jewish communities located beyond the 1949 armistice lines are illegal by dint of the Fourth Geneva Convention from 1949. That convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its population to occupied territory. Legal authorities have long disputed whether this convention is applicable to Judea and Samaria, but even if it is applicable, according to Prof. Avi Bell from Bar-Ilan University Law School, it “only proscribes state actions.”



Bell explains, “The Fourth Geneva Convention does not purport to limit in any way what individual Jews may or may not do on their legally held property or where they may or may not choose to live.”



WHEREAS UPON examination it is clear that the Obama administration is wrong in insinuating that Israel is in breach of its international legal commitments through its refusal to bar Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, the Obama administration’s own policy toward the Palestinians places it in clear breach of both binding international law and domestic US law.



On September 28, 2001, the UN Security Council passed binding Resolution 1373. Resolution 1373, which was initiated by the US government, and was passed by authority of Chapter VII, committed all UN member states to “refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts.” Resolution 1373 further required UN member states to “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts or provide safe haven” to those that do.



In 1995, the US State Department acknowledged that Hamas fits the legal definition of a terrorist organization. Today, due to its policies toward Hamas, the Obama administration is in breach of both Resolution 1373 – that is, of international law – and of US domestic law barring the provision of support and financing to foreign terrorist organizations.



According to an internal State Department document cited Wednesday by


the Atlas Shrugs Web site, the US has already transferred or is in the process of allocating $300 million dollars to Gaza through USAID and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since Hamas controls “humanitarian” organizations in Gaza, and Hamas has openly and repeatedly stolen “humanitarian aid,” there is little doubt the transfer of funds to Gaza constitutes indirect assistance to Hamas and is therefore prohibited by Resolution 1373 as well as by US statute.



The Obama administration is further in breach of international and domestic US law due to its attempts to coerce Israel into opening international passages between Israel and Gaza to enable trade and commerce with Hamas-controlled Gaza and to end or curtail travel restrictions for people between Gaza and Israel.



Resolution 1373 stipulates that all states must “prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls.” Given the fact that the Gaza side of the border is controlled by a terrorist organization, any significant relaxation of Israeli border controls puts Israel at risk of facilitating the movement of terrorists and permitting direct and indirect support to terrorists.



So too, Resolution 1373 requires all states to “ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetuation of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice.” Yet rather than calling on Israel to arrest all persons working with Hamas and operating in its territory, the US itself pledged $900m. to rebuilding Gaza. Moreover, it is demanding that Israel allow the importation of dual use materials such as cement into Gaza which will enable Hamas to rebuild its infrastructures that were destroyed during Operation Cast Lead. It is also attempting to coerce Israel into transferring cash to Hamas-controlled banks in Gaza.



Then, too, as Dan Diker reported in a study published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, US-supported Palestinia
n Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad recently acknowledged that the US-financed PA continues to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists.



Multiple news reports in recent days have indicated that the Obama administration is working to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian government that will include Hamas. US efforts to legitimize the incorporation of a terrorist group in a Palestinian government are a severe violation of US and international law. This is the case since it would clearly involve aiding a designated terrorist organization and helping to provide it with a safe haven.



Hamas is not the only terrorist organization to which the Obama administration is providing assistance – again, in apparent breach of international and US law. The administration is also aiding Hizbullah. Ahead of his June 4 address in Cairo, Obama met with members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at the White House. He also invited members of the Muslim Brotherhood to be present at his speech at Cairo University.



Shortly before the White House meeting, Egyptian legal authorities alleged that the Muslim Brotherhood provided material support to Hizbullah terrorists in Egypt. These Hizbullah operatives – and their Muslim Brotherhood partners – were allegedly engaged in a plot to commit massive terrorist attacks in Egypt whose goal was the illegal overthrow of the government. That is, the Muslim Brotherhood was allegedly involved in a terrorist conspiracy led by Hizbullah – a designated foreign terrorist organization. Furthermore, the plot was apparently hatched by Iran – which the US State Department has designated as state sponsor of terrorism.



By meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood suspected of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization, Obama was arguably illegally providing indirect assistance to Hizbullah – again in breach of Resolution 1373 and US law.



Then there is the US’s direct assistance to the Lebanese military. During the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, the Lebanese military provided direct assistance to Hizbullah operatives in carrying out their illegal war against Israel. Since then, expanding Hizbullah influence over the Lebanese military has been copiously documented. Consequently, by providing direct US military assistance – including weapons – to the Lebanese military, the US government is arguably in breach of Resolution 1373 and US law.



GOING BACK for a moment to the Palestinians, Hamas of course is not the only terrorist organization that is materially assisted by the Obama administration’s policies. As Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook wrote in The Jerusalem Post last month, the US is financing the construction of a Palestinian computer center named for arch Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 bus bombing on Israel’s coastal highway in which 37 civilians, including 12 children and US citizen Gail Rubin, were murdered.



As Marcus and Crook note, the 2008 US Foreign Operations Bill bars US assistance to the Palestinians from being used “for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism.”



Obama, the former law professor, never tires of invoking international law. And yet, when one considers his policies toward Israel on the one hand, and his policies toward illegal terrorist organizations on the other, it is clear that Obama’s respect for international law is mere rhetoric. True champions of law in both Israel and the US should demand an end to his administration’s contempt for the US’s actual – rather than imaginary – legal obligations.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.


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  • Marcel 06/26/2009 at 11:38

    Israel’s rights come primarily from the U.S.,from Sharon’s agreement with the Bushwacker is your premise.
    Do you really think international law or an agreement with Bushwacker will rescue or save Israel ?
    The law game is rigged against Israel ,it has always been so.
    What other country is told not to build on their land or has it’s Capitol (Jerusalem )not honored ,rejected ?
    You are so easy to push around because you are faithless and stand only for what the goyim tells you is acceptable.
    Netanyahu is another feather in the wind Jew.
    The poodle Netanyahu is quick to obey and please his god Obama while putting on a fraudelent face of resistance.
    Appeasment is the only thing he is doing.
    So far he’s done 90% of what has been asked of him.
    You and so many secular Jews lay out that Israel’s rights to build or live on their land is based on the nation’s and their perverted international law and worthless agreements with liar presidents.
    You ignore the God of Israel and His laws which override the shyster lawer and “international law” and yet faithless Israel can’t say no,can’t stand once for eternal truth.
    if you rights are determined by the goyim and their laws then they will cleverly and swiftly take away those rights.
    If they come as a direct mandate and commandment from the Holy One of Israel then even a spineless,faithless wimp like Netanyahu might be able to stand up and say no to his false god Obama.
    At this point You and Israel are incapable of saying no because you bend your knee to their secular laws which ignore the Creator of Israel ,the One who has set Israel’s eternal boundaries.
    The One you and Israel are ashamed to tell Obama who has mandated non stop building on the land He has given them,the real Power above the shyster Obama that you and Israel religiously ignore.
    Jump off the dead end secular train while you can because it’s going to crash.
    The wisdom of the wise,educated secular elite of Israel has failed and only HaShem can save Israel from her weak,capitulating,faithless self.

  • Marc Handelsman, USA 06/26/2009 at 12:47

    President Obama is using legalistic gymnastics to unfairly pressure Israel to comply with his so-called peace plan. Israel should petition the UN to scrutinize US funding of Hamas. US taxpayers should be appalled by American-funded support for the PLO and Hamas. The Obama administration’s foreign policy strategies lack the fortitude to stop Iran from acquiring atomic bombs, and are weakening Israel regionally. The misapplication of international law directly threatens Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. And the Israeli Prime Minister must defend Israel’s security interests without apology.

  • Arius 06/26/2009 at 16:18

    Agreements with the US are not worth the paper written on. Take a look at the agreement ending the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Every part of that agreement has been ignored or violated by the US and the EU. One hundred and fifty churches have been destroyed and thousands of Serbs and Roma killed or driven out right under the noses of the UN troops in Kosovo. President Bush in 2008 met with the mass murderer Thaci in the White House. Consider that all the above was done by Christians and that now we have a stealth Muslim in the White House that is running interference against obstacles to the Islamic jihad against the West (and that includes Israel and Armenia). Armenians around the world are waking up to the reality of Obama and resetting their thinking. Jewish people, wake up! Take off the blinders. See the world and the trends as they are and not as you want it to be.

  • fxmeaney 06/26/2009 at 16:27

    That’s sticking your thumb in the eye of that self-absorbed ignoramus!

  • Marcel 06/26/2009 at 18:26

    Foreign ministers from the world’s main industrialised countries and the Arab League met behind closed doors today at the U.N. to discuss the implementation of the new law outlawing Israel.
    After turning over the West Bank to the Palestinians it was determined that this was not enough land for a Palestinian state.
    The solution of more land for Arab moslems was agreed upon by all.
    The G8’s timeline for removal of all Jews from what was Israel was not as fast as Egypt and Jordan had wanted.
    Only one nation, Micronesia spoke out against the law ending Israel’s existence.
    Meanwhile US President Barack Obama praised those who struggled tirelessly against Israel and said that a great day of justice had come for all freedom loving people, most especially the Palestinian people.
    He said they had shown “bravery in the face of brutality” in their war against the infidel state.
    He called ex-president Jimmy Carter to Israel to sign the new law with Prime Minister Netanyahu who had finally succumbed to pressure.
    Now that international law has made the state of Israel illegal ,the Prime Minister of Israel is working with the international community to disband the government and the military as he called on them to show kindness to the stateless Jews as they looked for places to live elsewhere.
    We do hope that you will love and accept the Jewish people now that we have submitted to the law above all law, international law.

  • Bill K. 06/28/2009 at 1:38

    Let’s start with the most obvious problem here: the bogus concept known as “International Law”. To paraphrase Kipling, “international law” are words twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. What are these international laws, who passed them and how are they enforced? Do the outlaw nations of North Korea, Syria and Iran also have a say in these international laws? Or did these laws emanate from that bastion of hypocrisy, the United Nations? Even the most cursory examination of the idea of international law reveals that is just a lot of hot air. Of course the knaves have a vested interest in pushing international law because they believe it is an excellent tool of intimidation. How many times has Israel been accused of violating international law by most all American Administrations, the State Department and various Foreign Ministries?
    Countries can make treaties among themselves dealing with extradition and mutual defense for example. Similarly any free country has the right, but not necessarily the obligation, to deal militarily with rogue nations like North Korea, Somalia and Iran without appealing to some non-existent international law or begging the permission of some equally dubious “international community”. The only justification for governments are the protection of the rights of its citizens. To one extent or another these countries are a threat to those rights.
    As a tool of intimidation “international law” only works on those gullible enough to believe in it. Once the scam behind it is revealed, it loses it power over its former victims. By extension anyone pushing international law is a charlatan and a scoundrel. Listen to them at your own peril.

  • BigB 06/28/2009 at 1:51

    Once you accept that Obama is a Muslim, acting on behalf of Muslim motivations and interests, everything becomes crystal clear. Obama does not see Palestinian homicidal actions against Israeli Jews as terror. In fact he takes the opposite, Islamic view, that the State of Israel is inherently a terrorist entity, terrorising the Muslim rightful overlord by its very existence.
    As for American Jews, they are in a bind. If Israel is their homeland, what are they doing in the USA? If the USA is their promised land, why support jewish sovereignty in whichever borders? The compromise: A US client state, guaranteed freedom of religion by US might, but shorn of territorial self-defense. Supporting a black civil-rights far-left democrat is exactly their cup of tea, a high moral achievement, and no Jewish habitation populated by nationalist-religious brigands on some trashy hill in a far-off land promised by some long-forgotten God is worth jeopardizing their prominence and privilege.

  • beniyyar 06/28/2009 at 4:16

    Since we in Israel can no longer rely on the present Obama administration to take into account our security needs, the Israeli government is going to have to take some hard decisions, up to and including a public refusal to toe the Obama/Clinton line on freezing settlements.
    The truth of the matter is that Israel could freeze all the building throughout Israel and it would not bring the Palestinians any closer to peace with us, nor would the uproooting of the settlements or the new Jewish Jerusalem neighborhoods entice the Palestinians to peace with us. If anything, these two steps would only harden the Palestinians in their already ultra hardened positions and if possible up their already impossible demands for our destruction.
    Much like the Gilad Schalit negotiations with Hamas, every time Olmert indicated that his team would accept a certain level of terrorist releases in exchange for Gilad, immediately the Hamas negotiators upped their demands even higher, because in the Palestinian world, if Israel appeases them and meets their demands it only opens the door for more and more expensive demands.
    Indeed, I for one suspect that if Netanyahu meets the Obama/Clinton demand for a housing freeze, that this demand would be followed by other more draconian demands by the Obama administration, ultimately making Israeli Palestinian negotiations irrelevant.
    Right now Israel has to hold firm and drag out this settlement freeze demand for as long as possible, all the while acting as if we are sincerely trying to reach a compromise while at the same time doing everything in our power to torpedo the demand.
    Barack Obama is still simply too popular and powerful for Israel to confront directly, the Congress and the Senate are still too fearful of Rahm Emmanuel and Obama to support Israel openly, and the American Jewish Community still firmly supports Barack Obama and has both misgivings and real conflicts about whether to support Israel. Barack Obama has been chastened by his failure to support the Iranian protesters, but he has not yet suffered a deep enough and serious snough domestic or diplomatic policy failure to make him appear weak, inept, and especially, vulnerable.
    So Israel is now isolated from the Congress, the Senate, and our Jewish American familyl. And we have not faced this kind of pressure and open threats from our chief ally for over thirty years and I am not sure that our present leadership is prepared to confront this “friendly” threat cleverly, wisely, and as underhandedly as it demands.
    Israel has no choice but to delay, drag out, act as if in good faith for the time being, all the while waiting for Barack Obama to seriously stumble domestically and then taking a firm stand against his Middle East meddling.
    As a last recourse, our on and off negotiating partners, the Palestinians, and of course their various terrorist movements, can always be counted on to do something remarkably stupid politically, diplomatically, or terrorist and thus take Obama’s and Clinton’s pressure off Israel.

  • TOV Research 06/28/2009 at 5:15

    LORD willing, I’ll put this information to good use
    High crimes and misdemeanors = Impeachment proceedings.

  • Marcel 06/28/2009 at 8:10

    ‘Barack Obama is still simply too popular and powerful for Israel to confront directly’
    Spoken like a true coward ,a modern day Israeli who is know to stand for nothing and is always in retreat.
    Any wonder why Israel is always the choice to bully and not the Islamic terrorists,AKA Palestinian’s ?
    There will always be a reason for faithless,fearful Jews to retreat and not take a stand,to compromise with evil and retreat.
    If not now ,when ?
    ‘As a tool of intimidation “international law” only works on those gullible enough to believe in it. Once the scam behind it is revealed, it loses it power over its former victims. By extension anyone pushing international law is a charlatan and a scoundrel. Listen to them at your own peril.’
    Israel has proven to the world how gullible it is and the pathetic nation just can’t stop their religious devotion to their worthless idols.
    They want so much to be accepted by the goyim that they sacrifice themselves in macabre ritual of unending amputations for illusions of peace.
    ‘International Law’ is the last hope of the secular,faithless Jew who ignores His God.
    It is the lead lined lifesaver that he religiously holds on to as he drowns.
    Carroline ,can you swim without your lifesaver ?

  • beniyyar 06/28/2009 at 8:44

    At least I do in fact live in Israel, unlike our brave and aggressive Marcel who is more than willing to fight to the end and sacrifice the last drop of my blood. By the way Marcel, any idiot can fight, but anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows how to pick his fights and with whom to engage.
    Indeed, Israel can always choose the stupid and useless course of directly confronting the Obama administration. But as any sentient human being knows bitterly fighting with one’s friends is the surest way of turning them from misguided, misinformed, and inept allies into full blown and hatefilled enemies. Sure Marcel, we Israelis can kick Barack Obama in the teeth, tell him to go screw himself, and take what is essentially a diplomatic disagreement between Obama and Israel and make it into a personal vendetta for Barack Hussein Obama. Or we can use our Yiddischekopfen and follow the ultimately more effective course of trying to convince our American friends of the error of their ways, thus achieveing our goals while retaining our friends support, respect, and friendship.
    I am a religious Jew living in the Hebron district of Judea and while I believe in God I do not depend on him to step down from Heaven and save me from my own stupidity. And a direct Israeli confrontation with the present American adminstration would be an act of Israeli stupidity on a monumental scale.
    Keep in mind Marcel that one can always call on God to step in and save us, but believe it or not Marcel, sometimes God has his own agenda and lately God seems to be on the side of Barack Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, Hilary Clinton and those wishing to do us harm rather than in our corner. As the Chinese saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you are liable to get it. That is, God’s actions are highly unpredictable and often mysterious and the Allmighty can just as easily hammer us as help us!
    We Israelis can fight smart with Obama and perhaps win, or we can fight stupid and get our head handed to us. Me, I prefer to fight smart and perhaps win.

  • Ron Grandinetti 06/28/2009 at 12:06

    Posted by beniyyar
    Well spoken.
    Important that we can convince the American Jews to see the light and let this administration know they along with non-Jewish Americans like myself all support Israel in her quest for peace and sovereignty as a Jewish Nation.
    Obama has to understand the Holy Land G-d/God provided the Jews is from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean, including Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Sinai.
    When you consider this, it is only a tiny portion of the whole Arab world.
    The answer, relocate the Palestinians and other Arabs not willing to live under Israeli sovereignty to Jordan and Egypt.
    Peace to prevail.
    Unfortunately as I see it and I am by no means an expert, the Palestinians and their counterpart Hamas do not want peace. They prefer to be at war with the Jews.
    Sad and the rest of world is unable to see it.
    G-d/God bless Israel and her people.

  • Marcel 06/28/2009 at 15:04

    ‘We Israelis can fight smart with Obama and perhaps win, or we can fight stupid and get our head handed to us. Me, I prefer to fight smart and perhaps win.’
    Fight ?
    When you do fight ,you always fight stupid as you allowed the U.S. to hand you your head in Lebanon 2006 and again with Hamas in Jan 2009.
    You’ve alreay lost your head as all decisions are made in Washington and no longer Jerusalem ,dear slave ben.
    Now you spend all your time retreating to please your fake friends.
    You like being used like a cheap whore by them.
    They won’t be satisfied or stop demanding of you until there is nothing left ,Mr. stupid.
    So when will you say enough ?
    You are too well trained to take orders from your masters in Washington dear slave.
    It’s so sad to see that with you and so many faithless Jews, America is so much bigger than your God
    When a few of us were warning naive Israel to stand up against Bush and his 2 state final solution I heard the same defeatist and beggardly drivel that I hear from you now.
    They said;
    Oh Bush is our dear friend ,he cuts our throat with a gentle cut and draws as little blood as possible,if we tell him to stop maybe he will cut us deeper with less gentleness,so we are afraid to say anything that may anger him,so we Jews lick his boots and hope he will keep cutting gently’.
    You’ve become a bunch of fearful women.
    Where are the men ?
    This is why everyone abuses Israel and tramples it’s sovereignty with impunity ,you show fear and allow this treatment.
    Have you no shame or do you enjoy being kicked around like a dog ?
    You reveal you have no faith in God, Your words find you guilty.
    Your words reveal you stand for nothing and kneel to the will of your god Obama.
    So what if the U.S. turned against you because of what is good and right.Is your god too feeble to stand with you ?
    Is your god dead ?
    It’s clear that the U.S. is the god of many Israeli’s like yourself and this is why you are too fearful to stand,you have no where else to run. If you cannot stand up now ,you never will because it will only get harder to stand than it already is.
    Rabbi Waldman of Yeshivat Nir in Kyriat Arba and your neighbor Gary Cooperberg have inspired and influenced me unlike you.
    It is sad to see faithless Israel grovel and beg before their false ally and retreat before defeating Hizbollah and Hamas under orders from their American god who brings Israel down to the pit.
    Your god is slowly killing you ben and you don’t have the faith to say ‘enough’.
    It’s no surprise that so many WITHOUT FAITH IN HASHEM are swept away with the phony Netanyahu who serves Washington’s agenda and not Israel’s.
    MK Nachman Shai, of Livni’s Kadima, also criticized the prime minister’s policy in light of the reports of Israel-Egypt contacts, saying that “Netanyahu is giving Hamas a stamp of approval. In direct contradiction with his campaign promises, he is currently invested in legitimizing a terror organization which has made the destruction of Israel it primary goal.”
    Shai added that in taking part in the deal, which is being formulated behind the public’s back, Israel is aligning itself with an Egyptian initiative to reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which will end up legitimizing Hamas’ Gaza government.


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