Moderate Terrorists Make Peace!

So, let’s see what else has been happening while US forces finally caught up Osama Bin Laden.  

Well, here on a back page of the newspaper I read that the Palestinians have finally negotiated a peace agreement…with themselves.  The Hamas terrorists in Gaza have formed a “unity” alliance with the Palestinian Authority/Fatah government in the West Bank, so that they can work together for their common aims.  The story did not mention what those aims are.

There are, at least in theory, some big differences between Hamas and the PA/Fatah.  Hamas is an openly terrorist organization, committed to the total destruction of Israel, and deeply hostile to the US.  Fatah? Well, not so much. 

The Fatah-controlled PA is generally regarded as “moderate”, meaning that they changed their constitution in recent years to erase their commitment to Israel’s destruction.  Fatah recently gave up promoting suicide bombings of civilians when Israel built a wall to keep them out.  This is why Fatah/PA is considered “moderate”: so much so that, in the interests of peace, the US now gives $400 million a year to Fatah/PA, and provides it with military training.  

So now moderate Fatah/PA and terrorist Hamas are united.  What does that make them? Moderate terrorists, I guess.  And how different are they?  Take the Bin Laden killing, for instance. Ismail Haniya, the leader of the Hamas government, called it a “continuation of the United States policy of destruction” and “state terrorism that America carries out against Muslims.”  The PA officially applauded the US action, but Fatah’s official military arm, The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,  echoed Hamas:

The Islamic nation awoke to a catastrophe—the reports of the Shahid [Martyr] death of the Sheikh, Jihad-fighter Osama bin Laden, in a treacherous manner, by the gangs of the heretics….We say to the American and Israeli occupier: the [Islamic] nation…is a nation that is capable of supplying an abundance of new blood into the arteries of the resistance and is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah’s oneness, Allah willing.”

Predictably, the foreign policy “realists” sprang into action upon the news, cautioning President Obama not to overreact.   Best example so far is Robert Malley, a former Clinton adviser on the Middle East.  In the Washington Post, he makes the familiar case that the problems in the Middle East all come from Tel Aviv and Washington.

Hear Malley: “Twice before the world has sought to prevent the Islamists from governing — after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections and, a year later, when it formed a coalition with Fatah. Twice, the world made a mess of things. The balance sheet is unequivocal: Hamas remains entrenched in Gaza; Fatah is no stronger; and, without elections or genuine pluralistic political life, democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories have rusted.”

Notice: “The world made a mess of things.”  “Without elections or genuine pluralistic political life, democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories have rusted.”

The passive voice avoids the touchy question of exactly why there were no more elections, and why democracy has rusted. Could it be because Hamas, even when popular, is as hostile to democracy as every other terrorist organization?

Of course Malley talks about the “peace process”.  “The peace process is lifeless. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have not met in months. Palestinians, convinced that they will get nothing from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and little from the United States, are focused on getting the U.N. General Assembly to endorse their call for statehood. 

It is clear where Malley puts the blame.  “Negotiators have not met in months”; yet Israel’s Netanyahu has offered to meet with Abbas at any time, and Abbas refuses until preconditions are met. 

Malley writes that Palestinians are “convinced that they will get nothing from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and little from the United States…” Actually, they know they can get 96% of the West Bank, because that was offered to them in 2000 at Camp David (Malley was there, so he should remember.)  So the sentence ought to be corrected to read: “Palestinians, convinced that they will get no more than the 96% offer they have already spurned…”

Malley goes from Israel-blaming to this choice bit of GeoRealPoliticizing:

“Is it not in America’s interest to see an influential Egypt critical of Israel yet committed to its peace accord; whose relationship with the United States is strong but not servile, and whose stances are more consistent with domestic and regional opinion?”

He doesn’t really explain why our interests require Egypt to be critical of Israel, the only friendly democratic state in the region.  Nor does he explain why it is good that Egypt’s positions be “consistent with domestic and regional opinion”, when every sign suggests that such public opinion strongly favors the destruction of Israel.

Underneath the relatively shallow “give Hamas/Fatah peace a chance!” rhetoric, this analysis is just another round of Israel-bashing and demands for “even-handedness” in our treatment of terrorists and counter-terrorists.  It is the old Walt/Mearsheimer line that there is nothing wrong with the Middle East that can’t be solved by withdrawing support from Israel.

Predictable as it is, this stuff is still disheartening. Ever and ever, we hear the voices of isolation cautioning us not to get involved in helping the Jews out of problems they supposedly brought on themselves.  As in 1939, so it is again today.


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