Thursday, June 3, 2010

Biden Explains Some Realities Over Flotilla Issue

By Barry Rubin

It’s surprising that more attention hasn’t been given to Vice-President Joe Biden’s response to the flotilla issue. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Biden explained that Israel had every right to stop the ships. Biden explained, Israel offered:

"You can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza. So what's the big deal…of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping… 3,000 rockets on my people.’”

He added: "As the world put pressure on Israel to let material go into Gaza to help those people who are suffering, the ordinary Palestinians there, what happened? Hamas would confiscate it, put it in a warehouse [and] sell it."

Biden's solution was that Hamas would accept the international conditions that it should abandon terrorism and accept a two-state deal, going along with the Palestinian Authority. That was generally Western policy until now.

The pressure is on, however, to accept Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip without that terrorist group having to change any of its policies at all. Why the need to surrender to Hamas? Because some people were killed in the flotilla? One can debate that in humanitarian or legal terms but this is no reason to change a Western position based on strategic interests.

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