February 15, 2006

Irresponsible democracies

U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster - New York Times

The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

So, destabilizing duly elected governments is what passes for responsible democracy these days? Yeah, I know. The U.S. has a long history of destabilizing duly elected governments -- or worse (Chile anyone?). But while the New York Times led with the above story, Ha'aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, pointed out that

The Hamas military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, has recently finished registering and collecting weapons used by its activists in the northern Gaza Strip, a process sources said began at the order of the Hamas political bureau, after Hamas' victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections last month.

Look, as distasteful an organization as Hamas might be, if you truly want peace, you will deal with whoever is actually capable of bringing that about. Abbas and Fatah are completely powerless at providing security for Israelis (not to mention Palestinians) whereas a deal with Hamas would actually stick. Almost a year ago Hamas agreed to a truce and has shown it has the discipline among its rank and file to maintain the truce - something neither Islamic Jihad nor Al-Aqsa Brigade (a Fatah offshoot) have managed.

And Hamas is even making progress in the direction of recognizing Israel. Their position as always been that they aim to liberate Palestine "min bahr ila al nahr" -- from the river to the sea. Yet now they are suggesting that they are willing to consider the 1967 borders. Yes, they need to renounce violence. But so also does Israel.

Both the people of Israel and Palestine want peace. One would hope the governments of the U.S. and Israel would do all they could to bring about that peace rather than act like petulant children who, in being so sulky and irresponsible are laying the groundwork for further bloodshed and suffering.