Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The best of times, the worst of times

Haaretz thinks that the past policy of formal cooperation with the Palestinian Authority has perforce moved into one of selective engagement -- at least until Hamas has shown its hand.

During this interregnum in the PA, it is impossible to guess which of the agreements it signed will be honored and which will not. Hamas has announced it will examine each one separately, and determine whether it serves the interests of the Palestinian people. Apparently, Hamas has decided not to honor the agreement according to which the suspected murderers of Rehavam Ze'evi were to remain in Jericho Prison. ...

Once the Hamas government in the making frames its policy, it will be possible to determine the direction in which the Palestinians are headed regarding its relations with Israel and other states. In the meantime, Hamas is sending out mixed messages through various spokesmen. If it wants, and is capable of, restoring quiet to its territories and preventing PFLP activists from burning down the British consulate, the group should do so.

Middle East Online describes efforts by the Russians to persuade Hamas not to reject the "roadmap" to peace.

Kalugin said earlier this week that Moscow would use the talks to press Hamas to change its position on Israel. "We will ask Hamas to change its position -- to recognise Israel, to reject terrorism and to implement all Palestinian agreements with Israel," he said after talks with the moderate Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas.

Asked how Hamas would respond to a demand from Moscow to commit itself to non-violence, Haniya said Israel also had to end its "aggressions" against the Palestinian people. "Hamas is not the problem; the problem is the occupation and the continuation of the policy of assassinations," he said. "He who calls for calm should put an end to aggressions."

Commentary

Ha'aretz is in effect asking whether Hamas' accession to power represents a new administration or a revolution. Ordinarily a newly elected government is bound to honor the treaties and agreements entered into by its predecessors. But revolutions can choose to repudiate the ancien regime in its entirety. It discards the law and decides to live wholly outside it. Yet that freedom works both ways. If Hamas can pick and choose which agreements it wishes to honor -- then so can Israel -- and so can any of the parties which entered into agreements with the Palestinian Authority. The entire framework for Middle Eastern peace, if such a thing ever existed, will be put to the match once one of the parties decides to leave it.

If Hamas, has in effect overthrown the Palestinian Authority and nullified its acts, then the crisis gripping the region is not an international crisis but a domestic Palestinian crisis with international implications, not only for Israel but for Egypt and Jordan as well. Whether Russian diplomatic efforts can successfully turn a revolutionary-sounding Hamas into a legitimate successor government remains to be seen. In the end only the Palestinians can decide which of these two roads they want to take.

12 Comments:

Blogger enscout said...

Excellent observation W. As always.

The one point about which these groups have been reliable is in their threats to those whom they name as enemies.

About all other issues they have been unreliable.

3/15/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Red State Ranger said...

Hamas as political party was created to deal with social concerns. Only after its creation did terrorism come into the mix. The "revolution" meme is an interesting one - if it maintains political status, Hamas will once again return to those roots, as a political entity becomes more embroiled in local affairs like roads and sewers. If it fully takes up the "revolution" stance, Hamas will become a military junta with quasi-popular support.

I think we would all prefer the former situation. But if the latter occurs, at least the "solution" the foreign powers have to any problems that arise will be easier.

3/15/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"We will ask Hamas to change its position -- to recognize Israel, to reject terrorism and to implement all Palestinian agreements with Israel,"

Short of this, the “roadmap” is irrelevant. It is, in short, uncharted terrain.

“Haniya said Israel also had to end its "aggressions" against the Palestinian people.” This is a familiar chicken-egg dilemma and it is fitting that it is a dilemma that the Palestinians were never to win. It’s as if all the “progress” of the accords has been relegated to the memory hole. Ceding Gaza was not an act of good will if Hamas has convinced itself of the lie that they forced the Israelis from the occupied territory.

The hackneyed response is getting old while the cuckold must be gaining a familiar sense of deja vu. Meet the new PA again, it is senile.

3/15/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

As if the PA has never reneged on any of its promises/commitments/treaties.

As if the PA/Arafat/Abbas demand---that Israel withdraw to the May 1967 borders; that Jerusalem be redivided; and that all Arab refugees that left or were forced to leave their homes in the 1948/49 conflict be repatriated to their former homes within Israel---has meant anything other than the erasure of the state Israel.

So how, exactly, is Hamas revolutionary? By explicitly stating what the PA has been saying---and doing---all along? By continuing the PA's lies, deceit, double-dealing and disinformation? Or by being more refreshingly upfront about their intentions?

The fact is they're wanking everybody's chains. They always have. They always will. Until the longstanding, overarching goal of making Israel disappear is achieved.

Which is why the hostilities that started five-and-a-half years ago will continue and continue and continue, until Israel is gone---or until it has finally decided that her back is against the wall.

In the meantime, one can continue to offer humanitarian assistance, compassion and understanding to those poor, impoverished, starving, occupied, demoralized Palestinians, whose only failing has been that they've failed---so far, at least---to eliminate the State of Israel.

3/15/2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger MyFriendOtis said...

The biggest surprise will be two-fold: The Palestinians have always relied on Israel not taking the gloves off. In effect, their policy was to lose long enough that the need for armed struggle became irrelevant, and they got their way.

A very large part of that strategy was for the PA to be able to plausibly deny any terrorist connection. "It's not us, it's the militants, we can't control them".

Well now the militants have the reigns of power, and are insisting on being treated like any other legitimate government. I doubt they've thought through the consequences of running with the big dogs.

For starters, it means that every single act of terror is now a Cassus Belli, and if the revolutionary scenario takes root, it relieves Israel of any restriction on their use of force.

3/15/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I say Hamas at their word that they will never recoqnise Israel and will operate under a hudyna (sic?) (a "time-out") until such time as they are able to destroy Israel. Finish the wall and cut off relations with the lying Palis.

3/16/2006 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Incoming administrations always get to "cherry pick" from the available Law, to choose the ones they will enforce & which to ignore.
In the case of Palistine, on just it's second Government, and first lawful handover of Power. It would be expected for Palistine to "change course".

The stance of Hamas was well known, prior to the Election. The voters of Palistine are responsible people. Niether children nor simpletons, they have chosen a known path to travel.

Russia will attempt to gain influence amongst Arab States and paint itself as the honest broker.

Their machinations in the Region have just begun. After blocking any action by the UN, I still think the Russians and the Iranians will broker a nuclear deal, honestly.

3/16/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/video/palestinians-celebrate-911.mov

3/16/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Revolution - why the "Fatah was just too corrupt" diversion is yet another form of bad faith, and obscures what ought to be obvious: as in all other realms, the Marxist-postcolonial matrix has given way to the Islamist. Regardless of the similarity of levels of corruption or whatnot, this is a revolutionary, not an incremental, change. They should be bombed en masse when parliament convenes.

3/16/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

If hamas calls for fighting the zionist entity, and that armed struggle is their method, then the next parade of armed hamas military men should be cluster bombed

3/16/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

IDF to step up targeted killings

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the IDF on Thursday to step up targeted killings and anti-terror operations in the West Bank in order to thwart terrorist activities, including retaliatory attacks in response to the IDF's extended raid into Jericho on Tuesday.

Pass the pork rinds.

3/16/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

porker
Just as they should be elsewhere, everywhere.

If armed men choose to parade in the street, other than on May Day, bomb 'em.

We would if we were at War.

3/16/2006 11:35:00 AM  

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