Monday, May 11, 2009
Hamas: the Best Chance for Peace in the Land of Palestine
For peace between Israel and the Philistines each side must have a government with an honest intent to represent its own tribe and to negotiate in good faith with the opposing one. This seems self evident, and we will assume it is so.
This writer believes Israel's two year blockade and the December holocaust in Gaza demonstrates that Hamas is the only qualified government, and that the United States and Israel must allow it to negotiate. Instead, the negotiating has been done by the Palestinian Authority (formerly the Palestinian Liberation Organization), which the people rejected two years ago in a free election. Corruption has been exposed at the very top of the PA, just as it was in Yasser Arafat’s PLO, a blow to the PA, and affirmation for Hamas.
Israel’s reputation for honesty in office is worse. A Google search on the words “Israel corruption” turns up no less than 688 articles containing the exact phrase. A broader search reveals thousands of articles in Israeli publications about graft and criminal acts at the top of every administration in Israel’s history. Ehud Olmert stands officially accused of massive financial misdeeds. Ariel “The Butcher” Sharon slipped into a coma three years ago; his crimes can be more easily forgotten if he is kept on life support for the next 10 years.
From its very beginning, the Likud has a history of constant wars on its neighbors, and it has campaigned on more war. Israel’s wars have destroyed two smaller, more helpless neighbors--Lebanon and Gaza--in as many years; occupation and division have destroyed the West Bank. The 2009 coalition government’s Avigdor Lieberman publicly boasted that the US Government will do anything Israel wants it to do. He wants to bomb Iran tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the noble and historical ancient Philistines, who populate two provinces but have no nation, are led by two separate and opposing movements, each claiming to represent the people: the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Americans are constantly reminded that the PA leaders are well-meaning but bumbling drones who don’t cause much trouble and are ready to compromise for peace; Mahmoud Abbas seems to be just such a drone…dull, pliable but honest. But we are learning that Mr. Abbas is a profiteer, like his predecessor, Yassar Arafat.
Hamas has faults. It has often dealt violence when faced with violence. Some, including American Arabs with long memories, believe Hamas was at one time backed and funded by Israel in order to create a counterbalance to PLO growth and power. This was probably true at one time, but it does not matter now because it is clear from the Gaza holocaust that Israel has a bull’s eye on every Hamas leader, who must be dedicated to want the job. Hundreds have been killed and arrested, so it is safe to say these were not Israeli agents.
It is also well known that PLO leaders were at times protected by the USA government. The Philistines only supported the PLO as long as there was no one else. It is natural they would turn to Hamas because the PLO had a long history of losing ground every year while its leaders became more wealthy.
We Hold These Truths listened to Jimmy Carter when he said the election that brought Hamas to power in 2007 was legitimate and represented the will of the people. His team had talked to the voters. Carter said democracy demands that the world recognize Hamas and let the people work out their own problems. Carter stood for self-determination--a decidedly American principle, and some Israeli's now agree.
We went a step farther after the December annihilation of the Gazans, when we stated Hamas appeared to be an amazingly efficient and accepted governing body, functioning under impossible conditions. We based this conclusion in large part on Hamas’ development of the tunnel system that is saving the lives of the men, women, and children in the gulag called Gaza.
What more can a government do than help its citizen feed and care for themselves under impossible conditions? For their life-saving efforts, many Hamas leaders and their families have been systematically hunted and killed by Israelis. Whoever and whatever Hamas is, it has support because it delivers.