Peace with whom? – by J

January 16, 2009 – Friday – 7:21 PM
Peace with whom?
As I watched W give his farewell address to the nation last night I was struck how through some form of weird twist W seemed to still hold on to his overriding theory that elections and democracy can transform a region. That a region that sorely lacks the institutions of democracy through the simple task of a vote will some how find tolerance, and peace with itself and it’s neighbors.

It has been this simpleton view of the world that has wrought destruction through the Middle East these last 8 years. In Iraq where Sadr’s Mahdi Army and Sadr’s political party share the same course, and can some how find legitimacy through votes counted at the point of a gun. In Lebanon, Hezbollah a militia, fully backed by Iran, with the stated goal of the destruction of Israel and death to the Jews, now is the reigning political party in Lebanon. Gaza, the West Bank, and the plight of the Palestinian people. Fatah, once known as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), took the early mantle for the Palestinian people. Fatah became known more for their zealous rejection of Israeli’s right to exist, and their corruption than actually doing anything for the Palestinian people.

Eventually Fatah negotiated land for peace, softening their anti-Israeli stand and accepted the two state solution.

Then in 2006, W continued his spread of democracy to the Palestinian people. With no working institutions of government, was it a surprise that Hamas would win the majority of seats? Well, maybe to Condi Rice, but to the rest of the world, the cry was in unison, “Don’t hold elections, not now!”

After Hamas won they cleansed Gaza of any remaining Fatah politicians (cleansed as in murdered), and started a concerted effort with Hezbollah to destroy Israel, and the Jewish people.

So, I know that by now you all think I lost my mind. That J, he really is a NEOCON, he’s a nut, he thinks that it’s ok to kill babies, that he can’t see that peace is the only way. I believe in peace, but not with Hamas. Why?

In addition to watching W’s speech, I also read an excellent article by Jeffrey Goldberg. I found his opinion piece in the NY Times to pound home my thoughts on W’s simpleton view of democracy and the world effects.

Goldberg has spent a lot of time talking to Hamas officials, and his reporting speaks volumes. During a conversation with a Hamas leader the following came out:

I asked him the question I always ask of Hamas leaders: Could you agree to anything more than a tactical cease-fire with Israel? I felt slightly ridiculous asking: A man who believes that God every now and again transforms Jews into pigs and apes might not be the most obvious candidate for peace talks at Camp David. Mr. Rayyan answered the question as I thought he would, saying that a long-term cease-fire would be unnecessary, because it will not take long for the forces of Islam to eradicate Israel.

My stand is that you can not negotiate with people like Hamas. They firmly believe their religious rhetoric. They are stoked in it. Though Israeli officials believe they can bomb Hamas into moderation, they can not do that either. They can perhaps deter them for a time, but in the end, Hamas cannot be cajoled into moderation. Neither position credits Hamas with sincerity, or seriousness.

No, Hamas does not want free trade across it’s borders in Gaza. It does not want a better life for the Palestinian people to live. Hamas wants one thing, and one thing only, to cleanse the region of Israel and the Jews.

So, where does peace begin? Not in Gaza, but rather in the West Bank. To quote Goldberg:

The only small chance for peace today is the same chance that existed before the Gaza invasion: The moderate Arab states, Europe, the United States and, mainly, Israel, must help Hamas’s enemy, Fatah, prepare the West Bank for real freedom, and then hope that the people of Gaza, vast numbers of whom are unsympathetic to Hamas, see the West Bank as an alternative to the squalid vision of Hassan Nasrallah and Nizar Rayyan.

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I pray for the Palestinian people, and I also pray for the people of Israel. For years there was a concept that there could be peace for land. Israel withdraws to the pre 1967 borders and the state of Palestine will be rewarded for the peace that would ensue. However, the entrance of Hamas into the equation has made the opposite true. By withdrawing from Gaza Israel has become less safe, as Hamas from the time it won the 2006 elections has been dead set to destroy Israel, and with the new longer range rockets finding their way into Gaza, how long will it be before Hamas rains down rockets on Tel Aviv?

It appears that we are close to a peace treaty in Gaza, but what kind of peace will it be? Will it be a peace marked by the further martyrdom of the Gazan people? Will the US step up together with Egypt to help halt the flow of rockets into Gaza? Finally, will the Palestinian people finally find the representation they so urgently need?

I believe that a focus on a full withdrawal in the West Bank, open borders, and real freedom for the Palestinian people will entice the people of Gaza to fully reject the extremists and with enough monitors, and support by the US, Europe, and moderate Arabian nations, a real lasting peace can result.

Peace
J

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