“Well, if they won’t change, then we better.”

Well, it’s been a bit over a year since Hamas took control of the Palestinian Authority, and about a year since we stopped having formal contact with them. How’s that working out?

A quick recap might be in order. In the last elections, the two main parties were Fatah (terrorists who had learned good PR) and Hamas (terrorists who also hired social workers). And to no one’s great surprise, terrorists won.

That triggered an autonomic response from the United States government. You see, it’s our official policy that we don’t deal with terrorists, no matter how many elections they win. So we told the Palestinians “sorry, but we don’t talk with the kinds of people you just elected. Get back to us when you put some non-terrorists in charge.”

Of course, that was just one reason why we decided we didn’t want to deal with a Hamas-dominated governing body. Here’s a more thorough list:

1) They are terrorists.

2) They kept up their attacks on Israel.

3) They’re terrorists.

4) They renounced all prior agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

5) They’re frakking terrorists.

6) They refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

7) What part of terrorists don’t you get?

So, with those little challenges to be overcome, how have things gone in the Palestinian Territories?

Well, the odd-numbered points are still valid. Let’s look at the even-numbered ones.

2) In addition to kidnapping Israeli soldiers and announced plans to kidnap more, there have been continued rocket attacks into Israel. Every now and then they slow down the rate and call it a ceas fire, but that’s Sooper Sekrit Kode Speek. To most people, “cease fire” means “stop attacking.” To them, it’s a New York Rolling Stop.

4) They still say they aren’t bound to any prior agreements. Of course, everyone else is, including Israel (whom they don’t recognize) and nations that had been providing economic support. To violate those agreements is completely unacceptable.

6) This one is more symbolic than anything else, and I’ve gotten to the point where I simply don’t care. The “recognize Israel’s right to exist” is utterly meaningless. Israel exists whether they “see” it or not. Besides, even those groups that did recognize it tend to only do so until they can muster the strength to end its actual existence. It’s a fig leaf.

So, on all fronts, we see that there has been absolute zero progress on any of the preconditions we laid out for resumption of formal relations with the Palestinian Authority. So, that means that things are not changing, right?

Wrong.

(Hat tip: Charles, as always)

In P. J. O’Rourke’s classic “Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts To Explain The Entire U. S. Government,” he spent a chapter on the federal budget, and wrote his own. He took a chainsaw to the thing, slashing anything and everything that offended his sensibilities in the slightest. As I recall, the Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Energy were tossed on to the ash heap with barely a moment’s hesitation. But he spared the State Department, arguing that it provided a valuable service to our nation — it “gave us somewhere to send our Ivy League twits.”

Considering how often Foggy Bottom seems to set its own agenda, independent of the government it is nominally accountable to, I’m starting to wonder if that advantage might come at too high a price.

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