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The emerging consensus for dealing with Hamas
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 30, 2006

It appears the western world is coming to a consensus concerning Hamas. That's actually a good thing. The question, however, is, how long will this emerging consensus hold together?
The United States and its European allies have similar views about aid for the Palestinians, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday as she tried to persuade other countries to cut off assistance to a government led by Hamas.

"Everybody is saying exactly the same thing," Rice said amid meetings with other diplomats on Hamas' startling election victory last week and its impact on Middle East peacemaking efforts.

"There has got to be a peaceful road ahead. ... You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence. Those two things are irreconcilable."

Rice was meeting other members of the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers Monday. The group, which includes the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, is already on record as saying "there is a fundamental contradiction between armed group and militia activities and the building of a democratic state," she said.

"To say a Palestinian government must be committed to peace with Israel is at the core," Rice said. "You have to recognize Israel's right to exist."
Hamas has stated it doesn't want peace with Israel, nor has it any intention of seeking peace with Israel. Hamas also has no intention of agreeing with Israel's right to exist.

The west has now said, "fine, we're not going to deal with you or support you financially until you change that tune."

Two things now need to happen to make this effective. Those western nations signing on to this approach need to stay with it. And, as Jon mentioned in the podcast, moderate Arab states need to do some talking with Hamas and tell them that, for them, the world has changed and the old hard line rhetoric (and actions) will now be viewed completely differently. Now if Hamas launches a few missiles into Israel, it's no longer a terrorist attack, it's an act of war.

Based on their posturing and rhetoric to this point, I don't believe how much their world has changed has yet sunk in, as evidenced by this:
Hamas appealed on Monday to foreign donors to lift threats to cut vital aid to a Palestinian government which the Islamic militant group is expected to form but rejected their calls to renounce violence against Israel.
What a mindset, huh? They just don't understand that there are strings attached to support, and it's especially true now that they're in charge:
Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in Gaza, urged foreign donors to continue to send money to the Palestinian Finance Ministry. Last year, the EU gave the Palestinian Authority 500 million euros ($615 million), funds vital for its survival.

"We confirm to you this income will be used to pay the salaries of (government) employees and fund daily running costs and infrastructure. You can confirm this through a mechanism that can be agreed upon," Haniyeh said.

"We call on you to understand the priorities of our Palestinian people at this stage and continue the spiritual and financial support in order to push the region toward stability rather than pressure and tension," he told reporters.
Leverage. The party which has spent its entire existence attempting the violent overthrow of it's neighbor now must learn the real price of maintaining that philosophy. This is the perfect opportunity to make that point definitively ... if they can demonstrate the will.
 
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Now if Hamas launches a few missiles into Israel, it’s no longer a terrorist attack, it’s an act of war
At which point, the problems end.. as will "Palestine".
Though, we will have a lot of molten glass laying around.

THAT, I think, is the message that needs to be made very clear, because power is all they understand.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon:
Increasingly, I think, the Muslim world is recognizing that they have a vested interest in regional stability and economic connectivity. We ought to exploit that interest while we still can.
McQ:
Based on their posturing and rhetoric to this point, I don’t believe how much their world has changed has yet sunk in.
I think it remains to be seen just how much their world has changed, if at all. While positive developments are being seen in the region (Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution, Jordan’s continued Constitutional Monarchy) it does seem that the more powerful neighbors are making sure that business-as-usual remains the norm for the forseeable future (sham election "reforms in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, continued repression in Syria and its reprisals on the Lebanese border). Also, let’s not forget that the Muslim Brotherhood remains a potent force in Egypt despite Mubarak’s absolute rule and that Hamas gets most of its materiel support through Egyptian channels (recall the tunnels under the border that Israel spent so much time thwarting). In sum, the terror support infrastructure remains intact and there is plenty of incentive to keep using it, especially now that Israel is no longer there.

Hope that Hamas sees the light, while good to have, is not a useful predictive tool.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
I hate to sound like some Zionist tool here, but I think this "consensus" will last until Hamas "Softens" its position on Israel and the 2-state position, e.g., "Huuu’uuum we might be willing to discuss this with the 4 Party Group."

Then some Hamas "militant" will car-bomb something, Israel will respond and the Europeans will condemn Israel for overreacting "in the middle of negontiations"; Hamas will point out that OBVIOUSLY Israel is not prepared to negotiate in good faith and we’ll see UN and EU aid start flowing again. Sure just to humanitarian, political and relief groups, even if it’s all really going to Hamas to be used as Hamas sees fit.

Bottom-Line: I don’t see the 4-Party group hanging together very long. The US is going to support Israel. The EU wishes to counter-balance the US and any way needs Arab oil, Russia wants to counter-balance the US, and the UN is not particularly supportive of the US and Israel. Ideology and interest will tear the "agreement" apart.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Bottom-Line: I don’t see the 4-Party group hanging together very long.
That’s my concern as well ... but on the other side of it they don’t have oil, so they don’t have the leverage an Iran might have in reverse.

Thus far, their only export has been violence.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Well McQ, they haven’t had oil for ever, but the EU and the UN kept/keep sending aid to violent kleptomaniacs in the Gaza and the West Bank, why would they change now?

I really WANT this to work out, but I just don’t see it going well, at least for several years, i.e., I mean it will take several years for Hamas to moderate, if it ever does.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It’ll take several years with a "business as usual" approch, certainly (and by that I mean agains subsidizing the Palestinians). However the cycle can be shortened if the west will stick by its guns. Either Hamas will realize what is necessary for it to do to get western aid, or it will suffer the consequences. Another possibility, of course, is subsidization by other arab states (namely Iran), in which case Hamas would simply harden it’s position.

This sort of approach could obviously end up going a number of ways, but it seems fairly ridiculous to tell a regime that has vowed to destroy its neighbor that it has to renounce such a thing while providing it with no incentive to do so.

Whether or not it works is a toss up, but I think it is important for the west to begin showing a more united front (and backbone) in these sort of situations concerning the ME than it has been able to muster in the past.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
All I can say is that McQ you have more faith in the EU and the UN than I do...I hope you’re right.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
These threats against Hamas are meaningless. The Gulf States will probably increase funding for the PA now that the PLO is out of power. They had a score to settle with the PLO for the events of 1990-91 and reduced funding or cut it off altogether in the case of Kuwait. Moreover, Iran will be all too happy to help out.

The Western states are explosing themselves as the worst hypocrites. Never have the Israelis been threatened in this way. In 1996, Nutty Yahoo was elected on a platform to destroy the Oslo process. The Western response; "Israelis can vote for whomever they want", and "It’s an insult to condition aid or what have you on who they vote for, to use leverage". It’s a bad joke to see the gnashing of teeth here. Remember that Israelis have never accepted Palestine’s right to exist, and even claimed that they "do not exist", as Golda Meir put it. They expand Jew-only colonies with impunity and this is very action to destroy a Palestinian state. No talk of their being disqualified to be engaged diplomatically or any threats are made over that.

I also see that there are a lot of sick people who post here. This talk of turning those whose families lived on the land for generations (unlike their precious Israelis) into glass. Well, the fallout won’t help Israel very much, won’t it.

It’s about time that these sick worshippers of Israel are exposed as the insane that they are. Their leaders belong in the home for the criminally insane.

I have seen the claim that Hamas invented suicide bombing. They have forgotted the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was blown up by one three years before the first Hamas bombing. That bombing took place at the end of the mourning period for the victims of the Goldstein massacre. I’m sure you remember that. You must have all had a party when you heard of what Goldstein did.
 
Written By: ricardus rex
URL: http://
Why do I get the feeling that Book finally took the bait?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Remember that Israelis have never accepted Palestine’s right to exist,

Yes Ricardus I remember the famous Three No policy of Israel, No recognition of Palestine, No Peace, and No Negtiation... Oh wait that was the ARAB position for decades... my bad.
and even claimed that they "do not exist", as Golda Meir put it.
No can’t remember Golda saying that... you might try a Likud Government, I will grant you that, in that Begin suggested that the Palestinians ALREADY had a state, in Jordan. Of course, no one accepted that formulation, and it hasn’t been bruited in official circles recently.
This talk of turning those whose families lived on the land for generations (unlike their precious Israelis) into glass.

You sure that’s on THIS site? I must have missed it.
I have seen the claim that Hamas invented suicide bombing. They have forgotted the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was blown up by one three years before the first Hamas bombing. That bombing took place at the end of the mourning period for the victims of the Goldstein massacre. I’m sure you remember that. You must have all had a party when you heard of what Goldstein did.
What??? Who CARES who invented suicide bombings? I’d make the point that the Imperial JAPANESE Armed Forces were the first to make suicide attacks the centre point of their "defense" policy, myself. It really doesn’t add much to the debate, but I would make it.

What did Goldstein, that arrogant Zionist/Fascist/Racist do, BTW? I’m sure it advanced the Global Jewish/Zionist Conspiracy to oppress the Arabs, the poor, women, and People of Colour, but what specifically did Goldstein do?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now if Hamas launches a few missiles into Israel, it’s no longer a terrorist attack, it’s an act of war

At which point, the problems end.. as will "Palestine".
Though, we will have a lot of molten glass laying around.

THAT, I think, is the message that needs to be made very clear, because power is all they understand.
I believe this is what the yo yo was referencing when he mentioned things being turned into glass. But note it was not done as a threat, but as an assessment of what might happen if Hamas acts viloently while they are in a position of power. It goes from being a singular violent act to an act of war.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Thanks meagain, I missed that one...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There is a substantial Arab lobby in Europe, with Palestine as the uniting cause for Arab immigrants it is unlikely that Europe will discontinue support unless there is some heinous act carried out by the PA.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
And Unahop-closp there is almost NO act that the PA can undertake that would constitute:
some heinous act carried out by the PA.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert comics) weighs in at:


http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/01/dog_catches_car.html

Excerpt: "I have to think it will be difficult for Hamas to reconcile the whole “destroy Israel” platform with “We’ll all be at the Parliament building at noon talking about how to do it.”"
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
It took Nixon to go to China, Reagan to go to the Soviet Union and utimately Hamas to go to Israel for there to be any real agreement between the two parties.

It’s sort of a "no hardliner is left behind" approach.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

 
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