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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Al-Guardian recognizes Hamas

In perhaps the surest sign that Israel has done a poor job of explaining why the world should not deal with Hamas, al-Guardian today publishes two op-eds in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. One is written by Ehud K. Olmert. The other by 'moderate' 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh. If Israel's public relations efforts were at all successful, one would have expected the second article to be written by 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

Haniyeh attempts to rewrite history, first, by turning the Six Day War into an offensive war by Israel:
When the Israeli leaders launched their expansionist war in June 1967 they never envisaged that 40 years later they would still be haunted by the consequences. At the time, they were driven by one strategic objective: to end the conflict by seizing all that remained of Palestine and complete the process of ethnic cleansing that started in 1948. They did not realise the resolution of this conflict would take much more than military superiority.
It should be obvious to anyone who reads an unbiased account of the Six Day War that Israel did not want the war, tried everything to avoid it, and arguably did not initiate the war (Nasser's closing of the Gulf of Aqaba was clearly an act of war).

Haniyeh rants and raves at the world for several more paragraphs before finally getting around to what he wants:
The first step to change this catastrophic climate is for the west to engage with the Palestinian National Unity government, which envisages the establishment of an independent state on all the Palestinian land occupied by Israel in 1967, the dismantling of all the settlements in the West Bank, the release of all 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the recognition of the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. If Israel is serious about peace, it has to recognise these basic rights of our people. The 1967 war remains an unfinished chapter. Nothing will stop our struggle for freedom and to have all our children reunited in a fully sovereign state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Note that Haniyeh proposes to give nothing in return. No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel. He does not seek to have his 'government' recognized by Israel, nor to have Israel 'engage' with his 'government.' Only 'the west.' But he claims that if Israel is 'serious about peace' it must first accede to all his demands. The guy needs a good swift kick somewhere. I don't believe Haniyeh's 'peace' would leave any Jews in Israel. The fact that most 'Palestinians' support him and that two thirds still will not accept Israel even if Haniyeh gets everything he asks speaks volumes about the prospect for 'peace' in this part of the world - unless all the Jews start swimming, leave or are murdered God forbid. Meanwhile, reading Olmert's article, you almost start to think that he gets it:
Our survival in 1967 is now, in the eyes of the world and, with worrying consequences in the UK, the original sin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our opponents argue against the ongoing "occupation" as if it were the Gordian knot of the conflict. If only we were to leave the territories the conflict would end. And they threaten international isolation if we do not.

If only the conflict were so simple; if only the answer were so simple. Over the last 15 years, successive Israeli governments have initiated talks with the Palestinians in every conceivable permutation in an attempt to reach a settlement. In the 1990s, Israel withdrew from all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank, handing its affairs over to a Palestinian Authority. Nearly two years ago, Israel withdrew its troops and civilians from Gaza, with no preconditions. Last year my Kadima party came to power on an agenda promising further withdrawals. In the face of concessions that have threatened our own domestic consensus, the constant refrain has been the Palestinian refusal to end its violent attacks on our citizens.

Palestinian violence is not a response to the capture of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian nationalism's roots are not so shallow. From the emergence of the Zionist movement over 100 years ago, Arabs have opposed our claim to independence on our historic homeland, often violently. Our conflict is not territorial, it is national.
And in fact, maybe he does get it. Although I still don't think I want him in charge when and if it comes time to decide what we are 'giving.'
Working with our Jordanian and Egyptian partners, and hopefully other Arab states, we must pursue a comprehensive peace with energy and vision. I look forward to being able to discuss this with our other neighbours. But the talks must be a discussion, not an ultimatum.

Israel is prepared to make painful concessions to pay the price for a lasting and just peace that will allow the people of the Middle East to live in dignity and security. But as strong and resourceful as Israelis are, we cannot make peace alone.
I guess that means he has given up on unilateral withdrawals expulsions of Jews. Too bad he and his leftist friends didn't give up on it before August 2005. It was a stupid idea from the start.


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