Rice: Hamas 'Incapable of Governing'

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CBNNew.com - In a recent article in the Foreign Affairs journal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Hamas "has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of governing."

"When Hamas won [legislative] elections [in January 2007] in the Palestinian territories, it was widely seen as a failure of policy. But although this victory most certainly complicated affairs in the broader Middle East, in another way it helped to clarify matters," Rice wrote.

"Hamas had significant power before those elections -- largely the power to destroy. After the elections, Hamas also had to face real accountability for its use of power for the first time. This has enabled the Palestinian people, and the international community, to hold Hamas to the same basic standards of responsibility to which all governments should be held," she wrote.

But, she concluded, Hamas "has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of governing" the Palestinian people.

"If there can be a legitimate, effective and democratic alternative to Hamas (something that Fatah has not yet been), people will likely choose it," Rice wrote.

"You can be a terrorist group or you can be a political party, but you cannot be both. We do know that excluding them from the political process grants them power without responsibility," she wrote.

Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Rice wrote that a future Palestinian state would not be established "just through negotiations to resolve hard issues related to borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem, but also through the difficult effort to build effective democratic institutions that can fight terrorism and extremism, enforce the rule of law, combat corruption and create opportunities for the Palestinians to improve their lives."

Rice, who leaves for Paris Wednesday, is expected to arrive in Israel Saturday evening. She plans to meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday before holding a joint session Monday with Israeli and PA negotiating teams.

Abbas has been openly seeking reconcilation with Hamas, which he announced in a speech on June 2, while Israelis were celebrating Jerusalem Day.

On Wednesday, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that despite the Bush administration's vision to reach a peace agreement before the end of the year, he is "absolutely certain" that won't happen.

Meanwhile, in an interview published by the London Times Wednesday, President Bush said he would devote his last six months in office to reaching an agreement that would pave the way for a Palestinian state. Bush said he would "leave behind a series of structures that [would be helpful] for the next president."

Sources: YNetnews, The Jerusalem Post

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