Starving Hamas

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This seems like a strange way to think about democracy in the Middle East:

The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.

Right. “Vote any way you want, really; we’ll just make sure you starve if you happen to vote the wrong way…” I’m no fan of Hamas, but this sort of thing seems pretty unlikely to encourage any sort of “moderation” from the governing party. Maybe that’s the point. It’s not a hugely novel approach either. In 1990, during the elections in Nicaragua, the United States let voters know in no uncertain terms that massive amounts of aid would be forthcoming if they voted the Sandinistas out of office and voted in the U.S.-backed Violeta Chamorro. (And the Reagan administration certainly found ways to “destabilize” the leftist Nicaraguan government during the 1980s.) And all Nicaragua got for going along with this plan was the opportunity to be a guinea pig in a grand neoliberal experiment that devastated the country. Maybe the Palestinians should take note.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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