(Ball? What ball?)
The Gaza story has a history and a long one, as does the entire region. But one of the things that sticks out is the election of Hamas to the leadership of the Palestinian government in January 2006. It came as a huge surprise to the U.S. and just about everyone else at the United Nations. The question arises whether or not the U.S. and Israel dropped the ball in letting the Hamas faction sway the elections and did the U.S. simply look the other way while all this was going on. In a sit-down (somewhat softball) Radio interview with Condoleeza Rice on January 29th 2006 she's asked that question.
Dan Raviv (CBS News): “Now, we’re hearing from some Arab moderates that the U.S. and Israel blew it. That over the past fourteen months since Yassar Arafat’s death that maybe the U.S. and Israel should have done more to help President Abas. Did the U.S. blow it?”
Rice: Well, I’ve heard a number of Palestinians say that, uh, Palestinian Fatah say that they have to assess what this means about their relationship to the Palestinian people. I think this was about governance. I think this was an issue, um of uh, the legacy that Yassar Arafat left of corruption and violence. Um . . .after the Gaza withdrawal unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority was unable to establish even simple law and order. And I think for the Palestinian people this was . . .this was unacceptable.”
Raviv: “Did we help as much as we could have?”
Rice: “I think we . . .that the United States uh . . did a lot.”
Well, time answered that question.
As a sidebar, Rice answers questions regarding the Bush Adminstration's position on the Immigration issue. Makes for interesting listening as well.