Israel and Palestine

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Well, Hamas won the elections in Palestine, which likely will have all manner of people putting on sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. However, when I first heard about it this morning I had a different reaction. Maybe its because I have a strong inclination to shaking things up if there is entropy or stagnation. If it’s not working, juggle things around and see how it lands. The worst situation to be in is motionless, especially if the place of non-motion is altogether awful for all involved.

Yes, things may get worse, and that’s a definite risk, but things may also get better. Either way new questions will have to be asked and people will have to become active again in answering these questions.

Hamas now has to do in action what it has done in rhetoric. It is in charge, and the state of things will now be on Hamas’ shoulders. Either this will result in Hamas becoming appropriately responsible for the people, rather than using the people as human fodder for political extremism. Or they will show themselves to be unequal to the challenge, thus exposing their leadership as frauds and thus in future years destroying their support. The Palestinian people have heard the rhetoric of Hamas for decades. Now they give them a chance to step up to the plate. And this, in the long run, is a good thing. Put up or shut up, Hamas.

So, while I felt I should be bothered, I’m actually pleased, and when I got to reading this excellent perspective on the subject by Emanuele Ottolenghi I agree even more with my initial reaction. He notes:

There will be no excuses or ambiguities when Hamas fires rockets on Israel and launches suicide attacks against civilian targets. Until Tuesday, the PA could hide behind the excuse that they were not directly responsible and they could not rein in the “militants.” Now the “militants” are the militia of the ruling party. They are one and the same with the Palestinian Authority. If they bomb Israel from Gaza — not under occupation anymore, and is therefore, technically, part of the Palestinian state the PLO proclaimed in Algiers in 1988, but never bothered to take responsibility for — that is an act of war, which can be responded to in kind, under the full cover of the internationally recognized right of self-defense. No more excuses that the Palestinians live under occupation, that the PA is too weak to disarm Hamas, that violence is not the policy of the PA. Hamas and the PA will be the same: What Hamas does is what the PA will stand for.

Continuing to pursue a violent path will automatically switch off all international aid. Perhaps Hamas intends to offset the resulting loss of revenue by hosting Holocaust-denial conferences in Gaza and terrorist training camps in Rafah, but it will still have to explain to the Palestinian public why it’s better to renounce public aid to wage war.

So far the Palestinian people have been far more damaged by the corruption of their own leaders than anybody else. This election, if nothing else, pushes out those who have proven to be corrupt, and lets in those who may be violent and wicked and misguided, but may also turn out to at least be honest in helping those who depend on them. Responsibility is a maturing force, and it will be interesting to see how Hamas now transistions into political adulthood.

2 Responses to “Israel and Palestine”

  1. Zippy The Troll Says:

    despite the risk of destabilizing the universe, i’ll say that i pretty much agree with you. except maybe for that rather overbroad blanket statement “so far the Palestinian people have been far more damaged by the corruption of their own leaders than anybody else.”

    but, yes, for the most part, from what i’ve seen, a good way to shut down the evil terrorist group is to give it legitimate political power. suddenly you’ve taken away their treasured underdog status. suddenly they have to play ball with the big kids. it might be just the thing.

    what i’m wondering about is what would happen if we would accept bin laden’s offer of truce and make him come to the bargaining table and talk. hiding in caves and blowing shit up is great for his evil villain/defender of the people mystique. but what if we got him out of his dr. evil lair and into the light. hmmm. might be just the thing.

  2. Patrick Says:

    Regarding my overbroad statement… I simply cannot imagine the position the Palestinian people would be in if the millions (billions) of dollars which has flowed into their coffers was utilized for the benefit of the people as a whole, and if corruption was not present at all levels of government and business. Corruption is like an ulcer. It attacks the very core of the digestive system, and has the curious way of making every other part of one’s body feel sick and out of sorts. It saps one’s energy and dulls the thinking.

    Indeed, I cannot imagine what the position of the Palestinian people would be like if other Arab nations saw them as being something more than ideological fodder.

    This is not to take away some of their genuine complaints against Israel treatment, but it is to say that had they have exacerbated the real problems to the point of ruin.

    Imagine where the Irish would be now if America did not allow for immigration but put them into camps on the East coast, refused their integration into society, and fomented Irish hatred into constant terrorist attacks against Britain, refusing in the 1920s to settle for the Republic of Ireland without Northern Ireland.

    Britain’s treatment of Ireland over the centuries was terrible. But the Irish were willing to both step back, and embrace what was possible, and now find themselves near the top of European countries.

    As far as bid Laden’s truce, I concur with Grant’s response before Fort Donelson, “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.”