Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HAMAS....Exit polls sure have taken it on the chin lately, haven't they? The latest casualty comes from yesterday's elections in the Palestinian Authority, where the terrorist group Hamas appears to have won an outright majority, not the 30% minority the exit pollsters predicted.

Worldwide reaction has been understandably nervous, but the Aardvark counsels caution and patience:

It is an article of faith among virtually all Arabs and Muslims that in 1992 the United States and Europe green lighted the Algerian military coup after the Islamist FIS stood on the brink of electoral victory. This has been taken for a decade and a half as the definitive evidence that the American and European commitment to democracy was a hypocritical farce: democracy only if our allies won.

....For America, I think it's extremely important right now to handle this right: honor the will of the people, demonstrate a commitment to democratic process, and see what happens. Give Hamas the chance to prove its intentions. Don't get too upset about the inevitable bursts of objectionable rhetoric by excited victors test deeds, not early words. Above all, don't give the Islamist hardliners the winning argument they crave about American hypocrisy. Refusing to deal with Hamas right now could effectively kill American attempts to promote democracy in the Middle East for a generation.

This is probably good advice. At this point, I imagine that even Hamas is stunned by the results, and the immediate rhetoric from its leaders is likely to be unrestrained. Give things a few weeks to cool down, though, and both action and rhetoric might start to adjust to the weight of actual leadership.

Or maybe not. But if they don't, patience won't have cost us anything.

Kevin Drum 1:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (126)

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Comments

The Bush administration has long said in Iraq that getting all groups, even groups that use violence, involved in the political process will lead to stability and those groups renouncing violence.

If they don't think the same thing applied to Hamas, what does that mean for Iraq? Were they full of it from the start?

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on January 26, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why do we hate their democracy so much?

Posted by: Christian Charlie's Ghost on January 26, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

What is the official position of the US Gov about Hamas? Is it still considered a terrorist organization?

Posted by: bg on January 26, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The terrorists have won!

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 26, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Extremists are never surprised by favorable results -- they expect them.

But, I do suspect that many Hamas members, like those Palestinians who voted for them, are not extremists (relative to the region at least); rather, that Hamas' success was fueled by the desire for effective, non-corrupt or servile leadership, and more broadly, for change.

Posted by: Bragan on January 26, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

spreading democracy across the world...

bush the imcompetent.

Posted by: mestizo on January 26, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Algeria? No one gives a damn here about that country. Try Iran 1953.

Posted by: Marshall on January 26, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Like Newt Gingrich in 1994, Hamas may discover it was a lot more fun being a bomb-throwing back bencher than it is having to seriously make policy.

Posted by: Kellogii on January 26, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here's is chimp's response....

WASHINGTON -
President Bush said Thursday that Hamas cannot be a partner for Middle East peacemaking without renouncing violence, and he reiterated that the United States will not deal with Palestinian leaders who do not recognize
Israel's right to exist.

Bush urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to remain in office after Wednesday's stunning Hamas victory over Abbas'Fatah faction in Palestinian elections.
________

I suspect, bushco will say democracy is great if the people they support win. Otherwise, it's not real democracy. This, no doubt, will show the world that bush is not interested in democracy but in control. Doesn't say much for our investment of lives and money in Iraq. Is this a preview of what bush would do if the "wrong" party is elected in 2008? Refuse to leave office????

Posted by: AZBob on January 26, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Step one was pulling out of Gaza. Step two, as Kevin says, will be to stand back and see what Hamas actually does. Israel has given the Palestinians a lot of rope, and the rest of the world should, too. For now.

I'm not optimistic, but the Palestinians deserve enough time either to surprise everyone, or hang themselves thoroughly.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 26, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bush does have a point there, though not the one he intended: Can America be a partner for middle-east peacemaking if America does not renounce violence?

Posted by: Kellogii on January 26, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Polling Gaza - they really expected that to be accurate? Where levels of mistrust are sky-high?

It's just astounding when you read polling in so many cases. Unless we know that people would feel safe and answer truthfully, the results are pretty useless.

Kinda like polling about sex. And please don't remind me about that painful logic lesson, cmdicely...

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 26, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

This is what democracy and freedom looks like. I always wondered why Bush wanted it that bad. Next stop Mecca.

Posted by: B on January 26, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, let's try and reason with the Nazis. I'm sure they'll realize it's not Jews they hate, but themselves.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think tbroz is right. We should ignore the rherotic.

Bush's statement was a bad move. He should have waited. He allowed himself to drawn into a childish argument what people should and shouldn't say. If he felt he had to make a statement, it should have been more like: "Hamas has a responsiblity to control violence in the region. An failure to constrain violence would preclude Hamas from negotiations."

And Hamas' stance on Israel is irrelevent. What they do is what matters.

Posted by: aaron on January 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

If he felt he had to make a statement, it should have been more like: "Hamas has a responsiblity to control violence in the region. An failure to constrain violence would preclude Hamas from negotiations."

I tend to agree, but that would also require a rational bar for the point after which it can be assumed Hamas has not renounced violence. How many suicide bombings would that take? Or number of weapons imported into Gaza?

I think the ball is in Hamas' court right now. A good minimal start for Hamas might be to actually say they're going to renounce violence.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 26, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

First Canada and now Palestine: conservatives are winning everywhere.

Posted by: nomen on January 26, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the chickhawk FrankJ. Bomb the hell out of the bastards and let god figure it out. Diplomacy is for cowards.

Posted by: cq on January 26, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Fatah was a complete failure. I'm upbeat about the Palestinian situation for the first time in years. Here is why: When a group of people have no say in the political conversation, they are left with no alternative but violence. For the first time, Palestinians will have democratic representation of their views. I'm no saying that it won't be difficult, but give Hamas a chance to play a role at the negotiations before making a judgment. Bush's message should be: The Palestinian people have chosen, I will work with their choice.

Posted by: prabhata on January 26, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"I agree with the chickhawk FrankJ. Bomb the hell out of the bastards and let god figure it out."

Seems like the easiest solution is to let Israel deal with them without us tying their hands. Give war a chance.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 26, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I am disturbed by the US response to the desires of the Palestinian electorate. The US condemns Hamas violence while completely ignoring and subsidizing Israeli violence and aggression. The US does not subsizide Hamas and it should cease subsidizing Likud policies. The US should congratulate Hamas and do everything possible to help them in their struggle to make their nation a viable state. I think that should include ending all aid to Israel until it returns to its pre 1967 War borders and disarms its nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 26, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

The conservaclix in Canada are on a short leash, which is the best way to have any government. Make them work for general concensus ; that's closest to real democracy.

Posted by: opit on January 26, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Give war a chance.

That was the exact Bush policy of the past 5 years with Israel. The result: Hamas won the elections. Why is it that the right-wingers' response to a failed policy is always "more of the same" ?

Posted by: Constantine on January 26, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Give war a chance.

That was the exact Bush policy of the past 5 years with Israel. The result: Hamas won the elections. Why is it that the right-wingers' response to a failed policy is always "more of the same" ?

Posted by: Constantine on January 26, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Frank J: Yes, let's try and reason with the Nazis. I'm sure they'll realize it's not Jews they hate, but themselves.

Sorry, but you can't reason with the GOP.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that hasn't been brought out is the choices the total corruption of the current Palestinian leadership. People hate corrupt regimes.

I think this may end up being good, as it gets rid of some of the corruption, and allows the palestinians to see what it is like to be run by Hamas, and shows Hamas what its like to actually have to govern, rather than criticize.

if the palestinians made a mistake, they will correct it in the next election. Hamas has no more excuses, and they will either have to improve the lot of their people, or they'll get thrown out.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on January 26, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand this idea that criticizing the Palestinians' choice is anti-democracy. One of the things about democracy is it makes the people accountable for their leadership. Letting the Palestinian electorate know that electing terrorist leaders results in negative collective consequences is likely to have an effect on their thinking in future elections. Just like those who argued electing Kerry would increase our international standing (a very legitimate point), the same would be true of some non-corrupt non-Hamas slate in a future election. And that's a good goal, and not "illegitimate interference in someone else's democracy."

Hamas is who they say they are and the world had better remind them that if they insist on calling for Israel's destruction, noone is going to pressure Israel to deal with them, nor should the world fund their called for open war to push the Jews into the sea.

Posted by: Larry on January 26, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: A good minimal start for Hamas might be to actually say they're going to renounce violence.

Why should they?

Bushco hasn't renounced violence.

In fact, they've embraced it wholeheartedly, from unilateral and unprovoked invasion to torture, from broadly applied violence to personal violence.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

naman>First Canada and now Palestine: conservatives are winning everywhere.

Very funny. But rumours of Canucks abandoning our liberal ways are greatly exaggerated.

The conservatives in Canada are on six-inch choke chain. They have 124 seats out of 308, the Liberals 103, and the NDP (the socialists) 29 (the rest held by the Bloc - ie, the french!). Basically, the conservatives couldn't even come close to a majority after two tries, with the Liberals running a terrible campaign with a weak leader, and an ongoing huge corruption scandal.

Basically, Canadians needed to send the Liberals to the penalty box to sort themselves out and clean house. The least-bad way to do that was to put in a conservative minority gov, which was quite consciously done by savvy voters keeping a careful eye on the polls for feedback.

The conservatives are not a viable majority government option until they have a leadership sufficiently distant from the Repugnant party.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 26, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Larry: I don't understand this idea that criticizing the Palestinians' choice is anti-democracy.

Because it's not just criticism of their choice.

It is refusal to recognize as legitimate a democratically elected government, unless that government dances to Bush's tune.

Just like the Bush administration has done with Venezuela.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Chickenhawk? I can't comment on Hamas unless I'm willing to defect to Israel and fight them? You guys are goofy.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, we should get a pretty good clue what to expect when the next homicide bomber attacks in Israel.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 26, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

On the face of it the legitimation of Hamas and the end of the Sharon era and the coming of the wall seems to open up a new chapter. But I think that Mark LeVines,Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of California, Irvine, comments are important to consider:

... for all intents and purposes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over, and Israel has won, decisively. Indeed, since the beginning of the 1990s the whole point of the Oslo peace process, followed by the the low intensity war that began in September 2000, have been to convince and then compel Palestinians to accept that not even their most minimal demands will be met, whether through negotiations or violence. Regardless of who has been prime minister during this period--Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak or Sharon--Israel's negotiating strategy and final positions have changed little, which is why Palestinians soured on Oslo long before the al-Aqsa intifada erupted in 2000.

In this context, what the renewed violence that began five years ago signified was the growing disconnect between a Palestinian leadership whose very existence and freedom of movement has depended on Israe's good graces, which in turn depended on their gaining Palestinian acquiescence to a deal that few wanted, and a people that refuses to sign despite a decade of largely unkept promises and escalating violence. And no matter who wins either election, no Palestinian leadership will be able to convince their people to accept what Sharon or his successor are willing to offer: a weak and disconnected "state," bisected by settlements and Israeli-only roads, with its resources and economy remaining largely in Israel's hands, Jerusalem out of reach for most citizens, and refugees forced to return cantons that are effectively too small to sustain the existing population.

... Yet while Israel has crushed the intifada, it has not crushed Palestinian society to the point that it will accept a political agreement based on these red lines. Therefore, we can expect that the conflict will continue to cycle between periods of violence and negotiation while Israel strengthens its "facts on the ground" and Palestinians search for new strategies to prevent Israeli red lines from becoming their realities. As for the US, it will continue to back Israel, thereby ensuring the status quo of the last five years continues, while Palestinian society slides slowly but surely into increasing chaos.

In essence the Palestinians will be in the same position as native Americans and other aboriginal people.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 26, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. Has OUR democracy rejected violence?

Oh, I get it, because our Congress gave Dubya the right to use violence, they renounced democracy, and that's why Dubya doesn't have to follow the law anymore. That must be it.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 26, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that hasn't been brought out is the choices the total corruption of the current Palestinian leadership. People hate corrupt regimes.

Do people hate the current US Republican administration?

Posted by: cq on January 26, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Give the people a stake in their freedom and you would be surprised what can happen...

And sometimes you don't even need outside intervention or preemptive war to achieve it...

I am with those who propose patience before jumping to any conclusions...

The question is simple, do we believe in democracy and diplomacy or don't we. The end game is quickly approaching.

Posted by: justmy2 on January 26, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Abu Aardvark: Refusing to deal with Hamas right now could effectively kill American attempts to promote democracy in the Middle East for a generation.

Since "American attempts to promote democracy in the Middle East" don't exist, this isn't a problem for the Bush administration, which is not interested in promoting democracy in the Middle East or anywhere else.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

It all hinges on whether Abbas can get the Hamas leadership to sit down and work out a "tentative" declaration of some kind to continue negotiations. Something along the lines of, "Although Isarel has no right to exist and must be destroyed at all costs, they are a de facto power in the region and pragmatic concerns for the health and well-being of the Palistinian people require that negotiations with the Israelis continue."

50/50

Posted by: JamesP on January 26, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

In what way has anyone suggested not recognizing Hamas' victory? The suggestions have been on the order of 'don't fund them', 'don't negotiate with them,' 'suggest things they could do to change to those first two thoughts.'

Also, I hope people see the difference between renouncing violence (as applied to America = toppling unfavorable undemocratic regimes, if incompetently) and renouncing violence (as applied to Hamas = genocide). There's more than a bit of difference, even if the words being used are the same.

Posted by: Larry on January 26, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Found this, thought I would share.

http://www.nysun.com/article/26514

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 26, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Larry, your argument is silly. People wanted to elect Kerry because they thought that relieving foreign peoples prejudices would help us interact with other countries. Your argument basically is that because the rest of the world is prejudice, we should be too.

The palestinians are responsible for the consequenses of electing Hamas. I'd rather those be a poorly run government and bad decisions that they blame Hamas for than for them to blame us because we are obviously against Hamas from the beginning and sabataged them.

Posted by: aaron on January 26, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Do people hate the current US Republican administration?

Uh, yeah, check all the latest poll numbers. We sure as hell don't like it.

Posted by: The American People on January 26, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the hand-wringing here could be reduced if you didn't believe everything Bush tells you about Hamas and everything you read in the NYT.

Hamas more or less has observed the seice fire - about as well as Israel observed it. Hamas has done and does do bad things, it also contributes to good things in the area. Much less than Hezbollah has, too be sure.

As for the destroy Israel talk - well, Israel is much farther along with its active campaign to destroy Palestine than Hamas is with its plan to destroy Israel.

It might be worthwhile trying to remember that other politicians do things to placate their base just like ours do. And that Nixon was the one who went to China.

I dont know if good things will happen, perhaps Hamas will be stupid behave in a brutal fashion and melt down. And if they do - they totally undermine the radical option and create more space for moderates.

Posted by: JohnN on January 26, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine - In 2001, Arafat launched the second Intifada, which resulted in several hundred Israelis murdered by Arab suicide bombers. President Bush's hands-off, give war a chance policy, as you call it, let the Israelis do what they had to do to protect themselves, with the result that the Intifada is over and suicide bombings in Israel are rare.

Furthermore, Sharon's separation policy - the construction of the security fence and the withdrawal from Gaza and the substitution of Asian immigrant labor for Arab labor - means that it doesn't really matter anymore what happens in the West Bank and Gaza. Fatah talked peace but surreptitiously supported terror attacks wherever it could; Hamas could hardly be worse.

And the silver lining is this: the Hamas leadership now has to come out of the shadows, and take public jobs as Government officials, which means they'll be located in PA Government Buildings where it will be easier for the IDF to kill them.

Posted by: DBL on January 26, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom is on the march, although it, occasionally, marches to strange tunes. Wasn't there a democratic election in Chili a few years back?

Glad to see that Fearless Freddy and Frankie are allowed to post from their units in Iraq. How is your armored tricycle brigade going, guys?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 26, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Correction - Not only the chilly part of Chile, but the entire country.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 26, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote:
Exit polls sure have taken it on the chin lately, haven't they? The latest casualty comes from yesterday's elections in the Palestinian Authority, where the terrorist group Hamas appears to have won an outright majority, not the 30% minority the exit pollsters predicted.

They used Diebold voting machines.

Posted by: josef on January 26, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why do we hate their democracy so much?

We also hate democracy in Venezuala, Bolivia, and elsewhere where it gives rise to policies we - or at least Fox News - do not like.

Posted by: Thinker on January 26, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

This democracy thing is a bitch when our puppets aren't elected.

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of the misplaced rhetoric is due to the fact that most people do not truly understand what Hamas is. As an organization, it is a lot more dualistic than people understand.

The military wing is indeed a violent terrorist organization.

However, due to the ineptness of the Palestinian Authority and PLO over the years, the non-military part of Hamas has developed into a quasi-governmental provider of social services such as healthcare and education.

It is this part of Hamas that has developed a huge amount of support among ordinary Palestinians, even ones who disavow the actions of the military wing.

Posted by: MattW on January 26, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't there a democratic election in Chili a few years back?

Who won? Beans or no beans?

Posted by: Bud on January 26, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Bud,

In Texas, it was no beans as they are firmly behind a Clean Air Act. Beans swept the remaining states.

However, in Chile, it was Allende.

Posted by: stupid git on January 26, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Israel is much farther along with its active campaign to destroy Palestine than Hamas is with its plan to destroy Israel.

Several decades and tens of billions of American dollars further along.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

JamesP - lol!!

too funny

Posted by: christAlmighty on January 26, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

And the silver lining is this: the Hamas leadership now has to come out of the shadows, and take public jobs as Government officials, which means they'll be located in PA Government Buildings where it will be easier for the IDF to kill them.

With gifted US military hardware.

May Allah shine his light on DBL, or at least infect her with bleeding string warts on her genitals.

Posted by: Hostile on January 26, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to agree with tbrosz, to a point.

Hamas should renounce violence against civilians.

However, they have every right to defend themselves against military agression.

That latter right may not sit well with some members of the Israeli government who seem to believe that only Israel should be armed and have the right of self defense.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 26, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it that the right-wingers' response to a failed policy is always "more of the same"?

It's written in the Bible, George 3:16, "Stay the Course, lest thy Mission remain unaccomplished".

Posted by: Alf on January 26, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

DBL: Fatah talked peace but surreptitiously supported terror attacks wherever it could; Hamas could hardly be worse.

Interesting that you were present at Fatah's private meetings on this subject.

Perhaps you were also present when Saddam was telling his subordinates where to hide the massive stockpiles of WMDs and can pass that info on to the Bush administration which is in desperate need of anything to demonstrate they don't lie all the time.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bush urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to remain in office after Wednesday's stunning Hamas victory over Abbas'Fatah faction in Palestinian elections.


I guess he just needs someone to lay the precedent for his own plans in 2009.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I hope people see the difference between renouncing violence (as applied to America = toppling unfavorable undemocratic regimes, if incompetently) and renouncing violence (as applied to Hamas = genocide). There's more than a bit of difference, even if the words being used are the same.

Some Americans might see it that way, but unfortunately Hamas sees it as the difference between renouncing violence (as applied to Israel = toppling unfavorable regime which oppresses their people) and renouncing violence (as applied to Hamas = fighting for the return of their homeland).

It's not always so cut and dried, and we won't be able to come to grips with this if we pretend it is. While Hamas itself may be a terrorist organization, the people who voted for them have some quite legitimate complaints. And let's not forget that some of Israel's former leaders, such as Menachem Begin, began their careers as Stern Gang terrorists who murdered innocent civilians themselves. No one has clean hands.

Posted by: Stefan on January 26, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of the misplaced rhetoric is due to the fact that most people do not truly understand what Hamas is. As an organization, it is a lot more dualistic than people understand.

Good point. A somewhat imprecise analogy would be to the IRA, which had both a military wing (the Provisional IRA) and a political one (Sinn Fein).

Posted by: Stefan on January 26, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
    Israel

  1. Nuclear weapons

  2. Over half a million troops

  3. Peerless intelligence community

  4. Rapidly mobilized reserve component

  5. 103 F-16As, 22 F-16Bs, 81 F-16Cs, 54 F-16Ds, 50 F-16Is, 25 F-15Is, helicopters, navy

  6. Jericho II missiles (1,800 kilometer range)

    Palestinians

  1. Rocks

I think the ball is in Hamas' court right now. A good minimal start for Hamas might be to actually say they're going to renounce violence. ...tbrosz

Posted by: Ed of Arabia on January 26, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

The only interest that the Cheney-Bush regime has in the Middle East is securing permanent control of the oil reserves there for their cronies and financial backers in the US fossil fuel corporations. They will respond to the results of the Palestinian elections accordingly. Nothing else matters to them. The rhetoric about "spreading democracy" is hogwash.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK
The only interest that the Cheney-Bush regime has in the Middle East is securing permanent control of the oil reserves there

I think you credit the administration with too much in the way of long-term thought.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks SecularAnimist, but you failed to mention the majority of voters in the US also agree with the Cheney-Bush regime and their crony financial backers. As long as Americans can obtain oil products below fair market cost, they do not give a damn how many Arabs, Iranians or Others are maimed and killed.

Posted by: Hostile on January 26, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: I think you credit the administration with too much in the way of long-term thought.

Well, "permanent" control is of course an exaggeration, since eventually the Middle Eastern oil reserves will be exhausted, and then no one in the rest of the world will have any interest in the region or the ethnic/religious conflicts there.

Of course by the time that the Middle Eastern oil reserves have all been substantially extracted and burned, the entire world will be consumed in the global ecological catastrophe of anthropogenic climate change, and people everywhere will just be fighting a losing battle for bare survival.

Except the ultra-rich, in their nuclear-powered artificial climate domes.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

SA - If the US's interest in the mid east was to secure oil supplies, why wouldn't the US do what the Arabists in the State Department have been urging for the past 50 years? Namely, toss Israel overboard and suck up to the Saudis, Iranians, etc. - they'll be all too happy to sell us oil and have nice, warm, cuddly relationships once we get rid of all the JOOOS.

I think you need to work on your conspiracy theories a bit, they seem to have a few wholes in them.

Posted by: DBL on January 26, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think we can blame the exit poll miscue on Diebold stealing the election this time. "Obviously" people were just afraid or ashamed to admit to a pollster they voted for Hamas. Could that be what was happening in Ohio? If people were voting Bush out of fear or some other shameful reason (racism?) they wouldn't want to admit that. But why just Ohio? Were there more fearmongering ads in Ohio than anywhere else, or what?

Posted by: Rich McAllister on January 26, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, the only reason that anybody outside the Middle East has any interest at all in the region is the oil. If there were no oil there, none of the "great powers" of the world would give a shit what happened there.

I don't doubt that there may be differences of opinion in the US government about how best to secure US control of the Middle Eastern oil reserves, but since oil was discovered there, up through the time of FDR, up through the Carter Doctrine, up to today, the only reason that the USA has been interested and involved in the Middle East is the oil.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Rich McAllister: Could that be what was happening in Ohio?

What was happening in Ohio was the blatant theft of a presidential election by the Republican Party. Read Mark Crispin Miller's new book "Fooled Again", and the reporting of Bob Fitrakis, and the US General Accounting Office report.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think we can blame the exit poll miscue on Diebold stealing the election this time. "Obviously" people were just afraid or ashamed to admit to a pollster they voted for Hamas.

More likely afraid, since the Hamas and the until-now leading faction of the PA have been bitterly, and at times violently, opposed.

Could that be what was happening in Ohio?

If the United States or Ohio were ruled by a faction which had, within the last few years, been involved in armed conflict with the Republican Party, been condemned for arresting suspected members or sympathizers of the Republican Party without process at the behest of a foreign power with which the United States or Ohio was in a state of quasi-war and which that ruling faction was negotiating with, sure, it would be credible that the polling distortions in Ohio would be related to those in Palestine.

Of course, since both Ohio and the United States were, at the time, governed by Republican administrations, that's a little less credible.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Aaradvark is wrong, on three counts:

It's better for the USA if they refuse to deal with Hamas. That doesn't mean the USA should be threatingly hostile in the military sense, but it takes two to tango.

It's better for Israel if the USA doesn't deal with Hamas and if Israel breaks off relations with the PA because, well, duh, there's now an officially declared state of war between Israel and the PA government, and under those conditions you're supposed to break off relations.

And its better for the PALESTINIANS if the USA refuses to deal with Hamas because this is what democracy is about. The people choose, and the consequences follow.

Posted by: jfxgillis on January 26, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I wouldn't necessarily believe that Hamas is surprised by this. They obviously have their boots on the ground, and word on the street, and are tuned into local sympathies, so this may not be a surprise at all.

It's only surprising to us because we have a media that follow a script that is based upon wishful thinking and fantasy, not reality. And even the initial 30% exit figures are probably totally bogus...you can't be that far off.

This is typical. There is only one reality, but lots of interpretations. We should end the madness of assuming that everyone interprets the way we do, and ought to, or will one day. Plurality is okay.

Posted by: Jimm on January 26, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is very positive. Fatah has proven to be not in control.

Hamas is. Admittedly its anti-peace. But it now has something to lose.

I think Israel should point out that all its concessions were contingent on the acceptance of Israel's right to exist and look at what it needs to claw back.

If Hamas bombs, it now has large numbers of legal targets. Its parliment, its police officers, its
roads, bridges, water/electricity plants, etc.
The terrorists are now the command and control of Palestinian government and are legitimate targets of war.


Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Israel is not ready to accept Hamas at all. The entire Israeli political spectrum completely rejects Hamas as a negotiating partner, with virtually nobody holding out hope that Hamas will become a peaceful entity. The only question in Israeli circles is who is to blame for this. The rightists blame Kadima for showing "weakness" by withdrawing from Gaza unilaterally. Kadima and Labour blame the US and Condi Rice for insisting that Hamas be allowed to participate in the election. In fact, Likud blames the US too. They don't have the luxury of waiting for Hamas to become a legitimate political player and not a terrorist organization. Or at least that's what the Israelis are saying. The US, on the other hand, has that luxury.

Posted by: Elrod on January 26, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

McA, laying aside the idiocy of your (latest) post, how do you find time to post here? Aren't you out hunting for Bigfoot like all the other Malaysians?

Posted by: Pat on January 26, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

The only question in Israeli circles is who is to blame for this.

Posted by: Elrod on January 26, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

That's easy. The Palestinians. It was a free and fair election. They want a war. Israel should wait for the first provocation. Point out that every state would take action against a neighbour who advocated the destruction of that state and
set off a bomb. Then use the situation to achieve its aims.

Build the wall. Build a few more settlements. Deport Arabs to Hamas-land is they call or receive letters from Palestine.

Hamas gives Israel the moral authority to do lots and lots in self-defense.


Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't you out hunting for Bigfoot like all the other Malaysians?

Posted by: Pat on January 26, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, he's probably some Hairy White Guy like that Ron Jeremy chap on reality TV.

I still think the Hamas victory is fantastic.
If it results that right-wing Nethan-whatsit chap coming back, then its bad. But their victory really highlights the problem with the peace process.

The Palestinians don't yet see a disadvantage to terrorism and war. As long as Hamad is advocating genocide, its a hunting license for the Israelis under international law.

Legally, that call for destruction can be interpreted as a formal declaration of war. Israel could napalm suburbs just to get 1 armed Palestinian and it would be legal.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Per the CIA's Online Almanac:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

Per Capita Income:
Israel: $22,200
West Bank:$1,100
Gaza Strip: $600

Those kind of extremes in differences are going to get estremes in politics. Perhaps the economic problems should have been addressed before the political ones.

Indeed, Israel's really really big problem is demographics. In the modern world, poorely educated (especially poorely educated women) and low incomes result in high birth rates. By 2010 The 'non-Jewish' population of West Bank, Israel and Gaza Strip will exceed the Jewish population. And that non Jewish population will be largely ignorant and poor (destitute and squalor) and that means anger, resentment and lots of potential violence.

I don't know what the answer is. Perhaps building a wall. But its a combustible situation, and for Israel it grows worse everyday.

Posted by: Bubbles on January 26, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Per Capita Income:
Israel: $22,200
West Bank:$1,100
Gaza Strip: $600

Those kind of extremes in differences are going to get estremes in politics.


Posted by: Bubbles on January 26, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

But who's fault is the difference?

I mean, Fatah was corrupt. The election does show that.

I mean, you aren't going to attract business and jobs if your security situation sucks. And if you don't take action against armed groups 'cos they bash jews, you tend to have a lousy security situation.

There are lots and lots of fucked up Arab countries who are nowhere near Israel.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Arab states are ruled by corrupt autocrats the way an alcoholic is ruled by Jim Bean. And yet they blame the jews.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

This evening I interviewed Adrien Wing, a law professor who helped to create the governance structure for the Palestinian Authority. She said Yasser Arafat must be rolling in his grave because of what has happened to Fatah. She also talked about the possible impact of this victory on Israeli politics, and on the women of Palestine. You can read the summary and listen to the interview here:http://professorkim.blogspot.com/2006/01/former-advisor-to-palestinian.html

Posted by: Kim Pearson on January 27, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas may discover it was a lot more fun being a bomb-throwing back bencher than it is having to seriously make policy.

I dunno - the GOP sure looks like they're having a ball right now....

Besides, who says you have to make serious policy when you're in charge? The GOP has shown that all you have to do is win elections, and to do that all you have to do is make emotional appeals to your electorate. Good governance has absolutely nothing to do with staying in power.

Posted by: Irony Man on January 27, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

If you're seriously stressed by your situation, you're going for more action. Not only a no-brainer, something that should hit home. Or did Osama's realpolitik miss completely ?

Posted by: opit on January 27, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

IS BUSH WEARING A WIRE????

Go on crooksandliars.com. Find Bushs comments about the Hamas election. Listen to his delivery. Its as if hes wearing a wire to someone backstage whos prompting him what to say. He begins a statement, pauses, speaks a short phrase, pauses, short phrase, pauses, and so forth. He repeats this pattern, sometimes running on, then stopping when he senses hes not in sync with the information coming in to him. His statements are phrases disconnected one from the next, reminiscent of crib notes. He even appears to be listening to something.

Bush was accused of wearing a wire during the presidential debates with Kerry. Photos seemed to show some kind of box under his blazer in mid back.

IS ANYONE LISTENING OUT THERE?

Posted by: R W Greene on January 27, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK
Israel could napalm suburbs just to get 1 armed Palestinian and it would be legal.

No, mass killing of civilians disproportional to any military objective is not legal under international law; it constitutes the war crime(s) of murder and/or genocide, depending on the intent.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK
But who's fault is the difference?

Largely, the people systematically and deliberately preventing economic activity in Palestine, by, among other things, cutting off the access of Palestinians to land in active and productive economic use by them, and the people supporting that action by giving large quantities of aid to the people doing so.

IOW, Israel and the US.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

No, mass killing of civilians disproportional to any military objective is not legal under international law

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

But when your military objective is to dislodge a genocidal elected party, the mass killing is not disproportional.

You can't stop popular movement by killing the figurehead. You've got to stop the population to some degree....

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

McA:

So you're arguing that we should kill people because of their political affiliation.

Nice.

And you wonder why people like to call you a fascist, sheesh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Well, when your Party calls for the "Destruction of Israel" - its self-defense.

That green flag is now the uniform of a state that has declared a war of annihilation with Israel.

Israel can shoot all the cops, blow up hospitals if they have a single rifle in them, blow up power plants if a civil servant used the electricity.

States have the right to self-defense in the UN charter. Its just that no state admits to wanting to commit genocide anymore.

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

McA:

It's not "self-defense." It's a paranoid overreaction which only breeds more terrorists, and that's in large part responsible (that and the corruption of Fatah) for why Hamas won overwhelmingly to begin with.

Oh, and the Occupied Territories are not a "state."

You want to kill people -- civilians, most of them -- not based on their behavior but based on their beliefs.

That makes *you* the genocider, McA.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

not based on their behavior but based on their beliefs.

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

Putting a party in government that has in its party constitution, "we will destroy the state of Israel" is not an action?

Once a war is declared, you can shoot anyone in uniform and with a gun. The parliment of Iran is not at war with Israel.

The use of bombs on military/government targets is totally legal. Remember the bombing of Serbia?
Government building and military targets were legetimate targets. Collateral damage was "reasonable". Less would have been inflicted by invasion, but the theater commander did not have permission to use land troops - so any civilian deaths in the course of the war were not war crimes.


Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

Plus, there's still an open border to Egypt. If Egypt will let them, they can leave now.

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

One thing struck me as curious- Bush urging Abbas not to resign. Why on earth would he resign? This was a parliamentary election, not a presidential one. It's as if a US president's party lost control of Congress in an off-year election- would the President face calls to resign? (OK, more like a French Prez facing "cohabitation", but the point is the same)
Does anyone in the White House know what these elections were?

Posted by: MikeN on January 27, 2006 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone in the White House know what these elections were?

Posted by: MikeN on January 27, 2006 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Different constitution, dude.

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

That makes *you* the genocider, McA.

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

Besides, you only have to change their minds strong enough for them to take into account what war is like when they vote for war.

It wouldn't be genocide.

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the new Palestinian president will wear a belt bomb?


Posted by: Matt on January 27, 2006 at 5:12 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, the elected parliment could make it their national costume.

They already provide combination martyr training and day care services!

http://www.sundayherald.com/40859

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas gives Israel the moral authority to do lots and lots in self-defense.

And visa-versa.

Well, when your Party calls for the "Destruction of Israel" - its self-defense.

So everything Hamas has done against israel is self defense as well?

Posted by: Dave on January 27, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK
But when your military objective is to dislodge a genocidal elected party, the mass killing is not disproportional.

No, it isn't. Its not a matter of intent, its a matter of effect. Napalming a suburb to kill one armed fighter is massively disproportionate, no matter what the intent is.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK
Plus, there's still an open border to Egypt.

Well, "open" is a matter of degree; Israel doesn't have boots on the ground there any more, though they've been using military force, including shelling of Palestinian areas to exert continued controlof the border area.

Which just illustrates why its ludicrous to portray the Hamas election as creating a state of war.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

The reason the US and Israel both decry the election results is because they know Hamas is for real, as a Palestinian political force with the best interests of the Palestinians at its core and with the courage to stand up to Israeli totalitarian terror, and they will miss the crony corruption and blackmail compromised Fatah. What the US and Israel fear the most is having an eloquent and courageous opposition to their political and military dominance of the poor Palestinian people. I would hope Hamas renounces violence and organizes nonviolent civil disobedience to Israel's style of oppression. What Israel fears the most is having their brutal, wicked treatment of Palestinians and their desires for a biblical replay of the destruction of Canaan exposed. The only way for Palestinians to do that is to renounce violence and publicize the brutality and state sponsored terrorism of Israel.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 27, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I'll go out on limb with a prediction here:

Hamas will not change its charter, will not give up its goal of destroying Israel, will not disavow the use of force to achieve that goal. The US, most of Western Europe and Israel will refuse to deal with Hamas, nothwithstanding all the pleas from leftists and pacifists everywhere to accomodate and appease Hamas, to close our eyes to Hamas's avowed goals, and to pretend that Hamas is something other than an organization devoted to the destruction of Israel and killing of Jews.

Iran will provide some of the funding for the Hamas-led PA Government to make up some of the shortfall caused by the cutoff of western funds. It won't make a difference.

The West Bank and Gaza will fall into utter chaos. Open warfare between the various criminal gangs there may or may not break out.

Israel will continue its unilateral separation policy, withdrawing to militarily and demographically defensible lines and establishing a de facto border between it and the West Bank. The Western World will accept that border.

Eventually, Gaza will be taken over by and absorbed into Egypt. The West Bank will be absorbed into Jordan, and as a result, Jordan, which has a majority of Palestinian Arabs, will become the sole outlet for the nationalist aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs.

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Patience?

Listen to NPR's hysterical (not as in "funny") so-called news reporting this morning (Jan 27) about what WILL happen (i.e., reporting opinions about the future as if it is hard news) now that Hamas has won the majority. If that is what we in America, the government or the public, are gearing up to expect we're already unwilling to have patience.

It appears that Hamas, like the IRA, the Sadr-ists in Iraq, and similar groups, is an umbrella organization with both violent mititants and people who are committed to legitimate social and political action. In fact Hamas is already in control of some Palestinian local governments, and it has long provided social welfare services that have been the basis for its popularity.

The Palestinians need people in government who are not corrupt, something Araffat and his successors failed to do. If we fail to give Hamas time and the support the legitmate side needs to prove themselves we'll never get rid of the terrorists. The military solutions to Palestinian terrorism have not worked.

Posted by: MemoryServes on January 27, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'll go out on limb with a prediction here:

Israel will not change its charter, will not give up its goal of destroying Palestine, and will not disavow the use of force to achieve that goal. The US and most of Western Europe
will deal with Israel, nothwithstanding all the rocket attacks from US gifted helicopters on leftists and pacifists everywhere to accomodate and appease miitant Zionists, to close our eyes to Israel's avowed goals, and to pretend that Israel is something other than an organization devoted to the destruction of Palestine and killing of Arabs.

The US will provide most of the funding for the militant Israeli Government to make up some of the shortfall caused by the cutoff of killing children in Iraq. It won't make a difference.

The West Bank and Gaza will fall into utter chaos. Open warfare between the various Stern criminal gangs there may or may not break out.

Israel will continue its unilateral aggression policy, advancing military and demographical defensible lines and establishing a de facto border between it and Jordan. The Western World will accept that border.

Eventually, Gaza will be taken over by and absorbed into Israel. The West Bank will be absorbed into Israel, and as a result, Israel, which has a majority of Palestinian Arabs, will become the sole exterminator of the nationalist aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Posted by: Hostile on January 27, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

There may well be some Israelis who would like to see Israel absorb the West Bank and Gaza, but they are a minority, as the majority recognizes that doing so makes no sense demographically. Why would Israel want another few million Arab citizens? So, I think your prediction is rather unlikely to come to pass.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK
Why would Israel want another few million Arab citizens?

Who says that they would be citizens? If they were "absorbed", they would almost certainly remain special territories without regular status, except that settlements would begin to expand again, but the land the settlements were placed on would become part of Israel proper.

Expanding to take Palestinian territory doesn't necessarily mean getting more Arab citizens.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

cm-I don't think you understand the situation very well. Jerusalem has been annexed. It is not a "special territory." That is the goal of the Greater Israel advocates for the West Bank and Gaza. I know of no Israeli who advocates what you are suggesting, not one.

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think a super majority of Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians and expropriate all of their property.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Hostile on January 27, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
cm-I don't think you understand the situation very well.

I don't think you understand what I'm saying very well.


Jerusalem has been annexed.

I am well aware of that.

It is not a "special territory." That is the goal of the Greater Israel advocates for the West Bank and Gaza.

Sure, it is. But ruling the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza isn't. Creeping annexation through expanding settlements and keeping the (shrinking) special Palestinian territories unlivable to encourage emigration into other Arab states is the most likely path by which those ambitions would be realized -- unless direct forceful transfer was adopted as a policy -- not adopting a huge population of new Arab Israeli citizens from the already radicalized Palestinian population.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

DBL wrote:
I know of no Israeli who advocates what you are suggesting, not one.

As John Mitchell said at the beginning of Nixon's first term, "Watch what we do, not what we say."

Posted by: MemoryServes on January 27, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

It occurs to me that all of us outsiders are missing the point completely. 20 years ago most Israelis were uncomfortable with a full blown 2 state solution. Now a majority want it. Why ?
The elephant in the room is demographics. At some point in the fairly near future the Arabs will outnumber the Jews in greater Israel (including Gaza and the West Bank) and when that happens the Palestinians will not want a two state solution, they will want a single democratic country where the Jews are no longer a majority . What happens then ?
Actually, I think politically we're there already and I think everyone on both sides knows it.

Posted by: ralph on January 27, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"At some point in the fairly near future the Arabs will outnumber the Jews in greater Israel (including Gaza and the West Bank) and when that happens the Palestinians will not want a two state solution, they will want a single democratic country where the Jews are no longer a majority . What happens then ?"

I think we already know what the answer to that is, and it doesn't involve prim-rose paths and happy summer-time strolls.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 27, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

For America, I think it's extremely important right now to handle this right: honor the will of the people, demonstrate a commitment to democratic process, and see what happens. Give Hamas the chance to prove its intentions. Don't get too upset about the inevitable bursts of objectionable rhetoric by excited victors test deeds, not early words.

I agree with that. The test will come when Hamas decides whether to permit regularly scheduled contested elections. And whether they permit at least as much freedom of speech and press as are now permitted. If, however, Hamas acts like Communists and Nazis, then they should be treated as Communists and Nazis.

Posted by: contentious on January 27, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph-You're right, of course, although a little behind the times. Demographics is the reason underlying Sharon's separation policy. Israel is a liberal democracy committed to liberal values and it does not want to incorporate a few million more Palestinian Arabs who might someday outnumber Israeli Jews (there are already 1,000,000 Israeli Arabs who have full rights to vote, etc.) Israel's dedication to liberal values is also the reason it has not pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing on the West Bank and Gaza, unlike the Arabs and Iranians who cleansed their countries of over 1,000,000 Jews after the UN created the State of Israel in 1948.

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Contentious-Do you think the US should provide economic support for a Hamas state that permits future democratic elections even if it pursues the destruction of the state of Israel?

I cannot understand the people on this site. Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of a sovereign state, a member of the UN, and everyone here just thinks, ho hum, it's business as usual. To achieve this goal it engages in the deliberate slaughter of civilians. Oh well, they're just Jews, who cares?

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

DBL,
No, I don't think the demographic question was suddenly uncovered this week. My point is that it is an important underlying factor to everything going on in Israel and the territories right now, including, of course, Mr. Sharon's moves. I think it plays a role in the Hamas victory, yet no one seems willing to talk about it openly. Israelis have been debating this for some time - can they remain truly modern, liberal and democratic and a Jewish state ? Certainly, the Palestinians know this debate is ongoing. Only commentators in the US seem to ignore it.

Posted by: ralph on January 27, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Contentious-Do you think the US should provide economic support for an Israeli state that permits future democratic elections even if it pursues the destruction of the nation of Palestine?

I cannot understand the people on this site. Israel is dedicated to the destruction of a sovereign nation, a member of the humans of the world, and everyone here just thinks, ho hum, it's business as usual. To achieve this goal it engages in the deliberate slaughter of civilians. Oh well, they're just Arabs, who cares?

Posted by: Hostile on January 27, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph,
In all seriousness, the Palestinians are going to have far more immediate problems than "oh, what do we do when we've got it all?"
The issue is right now whether Fatah is going to play ball, or outright pound Hamas into the ground (read civil war).
Fatah likes it's power, and Hamas may find they won the popular vote, but like it or not, the popular vote doesn't have the fire-power to back up it's wishes. Fatah does. Hamas may be force to either:
1: Play ball with Fatah (a possibility, but unlikely.)
or
2: Sit in the corner and grumble about being the legitimate winner while Fatah thumbs it's nose at them. (this would not sit well with the international court of public opinion)
or
3: There can only be one (a civil war)

Considering the egos involved, I'm leaning towards 3.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 27, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile - Your comments are amusing, but please note that in the entire recorded history of the world, there has never, ever been a "Palestinian State," and there isn't one even now, so it's a little silly to claim that Israel is trying to destroy it.

The Kurds and Tibetans have a far better claim to nationhood than the Palestinian Arabs, since at least at some point in the past there were independent states of Kurdistan and Tibet. That said, the Palestinian Arabs have acquired a national sense over the past 50 years, which seems to be distinct from that of other Arabs, and the world and Israel seem prepared to give them a state in which they can be sovereign. But I don't expect, and I'm sure you would not expect or desire, Israel to cooperate in the creation of a state that is dedicated to destruction of Israel.

If and when the Palestinian Arabs renounce their revanchism, they'll have a sovereign state on the West Bank (ex Jerusalem) and Gaza, which could, if they were interested in peaceful relations with Israel (and by peaceful, I mean like between the US and Canada) be a prosperous country.

I know that you probably think it's horrible that Gaza and the West Bank are not contiguous, but consider this: Alaska is not contiguous with the US - it's separated by 1200 miles through a foreign country - and no one thinks that's a problem, do they? If the Palestinian Arabs want to have peaceful relations with Israel, then the road between the West Bank and Gaza won't be a problem, either.

Posted by: DBL on January 27, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

While reading the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, I could not help but notice a Palestinian nation was referred, and deferred, to. It was not a nation state, and I never said it was, as it was under the suzerairnty of the Ottoman Empire. Just like all the other nations under the Ottoman Empire, Palestine was prevented from becoming a state. When the British took over the nation of Palestine, they also prevented it from becoming a state. The nation of Palestine has, and will, always exist, until the people themselves are exterminated.

I will support Israel's existence under the 1947 UN Partiton Plan, but not the territory claimed by war since then. The US should end all military and economic aid to Israel until the state returns to its original borders. That is what the US should do, but in the interests of peace, I would be willing to compromise and plead with the US to end all aid to Israel until Israel returns all territory seized from the 1967 war and returns to its pre-war borders (I would actually prefer Israel return to its pre-war 1956 borders). That is what I want as a US citizen. I really cannot speak for the nation of Palestine, but I would hope, they could settle for having so much of their nation stolen from them in order to have a state and peace. Whether Palestine can make that compromise does not concern me as much as my nation/state's support for Israel's militant acquisitive aggression.

What I think is horrible is that anyone would think their god is a property broker who gives them the righteousness to steal other people's land, homes and nation. But that does not help solve the problem, which, I think, is the US subsidizing militant Zionist insanity.

Posted by: Hostile on January 27, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Just like all the other nations under the Ottoman Empire, Palestine was prevented from becoming a state. When the British took over the nation of Palestine, they also prevented it from becoming a state. The nation of Palestine has, and will, always exist, until the people themselves are exterminated."

Hostile, you keep focusing on the Israeli's as the biggest threat to the Palestinian Arabs, but you seem to overlook the real threat to Palestinian Arab sovereirgnty which is Syria. You blame Israel for "trying" to wipe out the Palestinian Arabs, but yet ignore Syria's complete genocide of the same group. One word, Hama.

So let me put it to you so you and I are very clear on this:
If Israel ever wanted to wipe the palestinian Arabs off the map it would be done in a week.
If Israel wanted to push the palestinian Arabs into Jordan or any other Arab country it would be done in two weeks.
The fact that they haven't done either, despite what many consider ample opportunities presented to them, speaks volumes about you and your allegations.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 27, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK
The issue is right now whether Fatah is going to play ball, or outright pound Hamas into the ground (read civil war).

If Fatah had ever had the capacity to pound Hamas into the ground, it would have already done so. The only hope they had of defeating Hamas was to reach an accommodation with Israel that improved conditions for the people in Palestine enough that the public stopped supporting Hamas -- but Israel did a good job of convincing voters that all the concessions in the world by the Fatah-led government weren't going to buy progress, and that the only way to get anything out of Israel was the same way Israel got driven out of Palestine -- by force.

Fatah likes it's power, and Hamas may find they won the popular vote, but like it or not, the popular vote doesn't have the fire-power to back up it's wishes. Fatah does.

One of the Fatah-led governments biggest problems is it never had credibility since it never had the firepower to control Hamas. Hamas' election victory didn't somehow give Fatah more firepower.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

sheerakhan, your 7:28PM post is incomplete. If, in fact, Israel has had ample opportunities to drive the Palestinians in to some other national oblivion yet has not seized that opportunity, it has no relation to the volume I inhabit, unless you can explain further. Israel has seized land and territory and property and sent many hundreds of thousands of people into endless exile through the exercise of war. Some of that war has been called defensive and some offensive. Regardless, peace will only have its best chance when Israel returns to its approximate original goals, as set forth by the 1947 Partition. Re-imagine the joy all of the world's Jew's felt on that day. Think of all the misery Likudnik ideology has brought on the Palestinians. If Israel should return to its original borders, think of the joy the world would feel and the goodwill Israel would generate.

My allegation is that American largesse has corrupted the initial goals of the original Zionists, the ones who were dancing in the streets in 1947. Our gifts of military hardware and economic graft have corrupted Israel into following the degradation of territorial acquisition for nationalism at the expense and suffering of the Palestinian people. Without US military and economic aid, Israel would have had to seek compromise after the 1967 war instead of increased settlements, and much more compromise at every other historical opportunity for peace since. Israel has only pursued the steel hard logic of pursuing an ideological, greater state because of its US financed capabilities to wage war, which I would like stopped. If my ideas about the Middle East speaks 'volumes' about me, I hope they chronicle my compassion, historical understanding, and empathy for oppressed people and things everywhere in the universe, and not just my many faiings.

Posted by: Hostile on January 28, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

I hope they chronicle my compassion, historical understanding, empathy for oppressed people and things everywhere in the universe, and my guilt from paying taxes and allowing my nation/state to finance the totalitarian destruction of the Palestinians, and not just my many faiings.

My guilt, my guilt, my bloody guilt.
Weep, weep, weep for the oppressed people our nation has made suffer.
The maltreated.
The exiled.
The tortured.
The bulldozed.

The dead.

Rockets, Rockets, Rockets shooting into homes, paid for with my payroll deductions
for the glory of Israel.

The shame and blatant horror are difficult to endure,

I wish Israel would return to its original border.

Posted by: hostile on January 28, 2006 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

My many failings.

Posted by: Hostile on January 28, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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