Saturday, January 28, 2006

Will Hamas Blow Up Mid East Peace?

Hamas won the Palestinian elections with an overwhelming majority of the vote. Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, when interviewed by Newsweek reporter Christopher Dickey characterized this percentage more as frustration over Palestinian policy, and less as support of militant Hamas.

You’ll always have that dissent vote, that frustration vote in place. In Palestine it turned out the frustration vote was 70 percent.
Hamas is historically committed to terrorism in order to promote the end of the Jewish state of Israel, and in its place a Palestinian state. This platform negates coexistence of a Palestinian state and Israel.

On Friday, the deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, set a high standard for discussions regarding disarmament. "Europe and the United States must ask Israel to withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to international legitimacy, before they ask Hamas to disarm," he said.--CNN, 1/28/06

The United States, along with other countries, is committed to its policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Bush made these remarks at a news conference:

Asked in a follow-up question if he was ruling out dealing with a Palestinian government that was made up partly of Hamas, he replied: “They don’t have a government yet, so you’re asking me to speculate on what the government will look like. I have made it very clear however that a political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of a platform is a party with which we will not deal.”--MSNBC 1/26/06

The evolving situation since the Hamas elections may hinge more on the reaction of the world to Hamas, than on how Hamas approaches the world. If all sides refuse to bend in order to meet in compromise, the so-called roadmap to peace is nothing more than a hallucinatory dream.

There is a glimmer of hope in the midst of all the political statements—at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reporter Dickey managed to get an on-the-fly video clip of a thoughtful overview from Tel Aviv University president Itamar Rabinovich. He concedes that the election of Hamas is a “negative event,” describes the reaction of diplomats looking for a “silver lining,” and despite the track record of Hamas as terrorists opposed to the existence of Israel, sees a possibility to “find a way to overcome these technicalities…”

There is no other choice than to find a middle ground on which to start communicating. The modern state of Israel itself was born on the back of terrorism. That doesn’t make killing innocent people right, but it proves that there is always room for movement within a mood of intransigence. However, without a lot more intelligent diplomats like Rabinovich, an ultimate solution for peace and cooperation in the Middle East will remain dishearteningly far off.

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