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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Obama: 'If Hezbullah wins Lebanon's election, we might have to engage with them'

This seems to have slipped beneath the radar.

On Monday, NPR interviewed President Obama about the Middle East. During the interview, he was asked whether he would 'engage' with Hamas and Hezbullah because they have had 'significant gains' in recent elections. Here's the exchange.
Norris: You've mentioned many times the importance of reaching out to Iran with an open hand, trying to engage that country. Are you also willing to try to engage with Hezbollah or Hamas, entities that have now had significant gains in recent elections?

Well, let's just underscore a point here. Iran is a huge, significant nation state that has, I think, across the international community been recognized as such. Hezbollah and Hamas are not. And I don't think that we have to approach those entities in the same way.

Norris: If I may ask though, does that change with their electoral — does that change with their electoral gains?

Well, look, if at some point — Lebanon is a member of the United Nations — if at some point they are elected as a head of state or a head of state is elected in Lebanon that is a member of that organization, then that would raise these issues. That hasn't happened yet.

With respect to Hamas, I do think that if they recognize the Quartet principles [referring to the United States, Russia, European Union and the United Nations] that have been laid out — and these are fairly modest conditions here — that you recognize the state of Israel without prejudging what various grievances or claims are appropriate, that you abide by previous agreements, that you renounce violence as a means of achieving your goals — then I think the discussions with Hamas could potentially proceed.

And so, the problem has been that there has been a preference oftentimes on the part of these organizations to use violence and not take responsibility for governance as a means of winning propaganda wars or advancing their organizational aims. At some point though, they may make a transition. There are examples of, in the past, organizations that have successfully transitioned from violent organizations to ones that recognize that they can achieve their aims more effectively through political means. And I hope that occurs.
The Nazis won an election in Germany too.


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At 5:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Obama will welcome Hopenchange in Lebanon - as long as its anti-American.

What could go wrong indeed

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Hizbollah was driven out of Lebanon by the US and France- so said VP Biden

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Hizballah is also no different than Nazis. Unknown to most, Hizballah has made it as its goal to kill every Jew in Lebanon. In 2009, every Lebanese Jew is living in hiding. I have a Lebanese Jewish friend who had to flee Lebanon for his very life, because he cleaned up a desecrated Jewish grave and somehow made it a UNESCO site. He did nothing against Hizballah, but standing up for Jewish dignity was considered such a terrible 'crime' that he had to flee Lebanon.

Hizballah are vile murderers, and as you know, Nasrallah has made statements calling for total Jew annihilation. It shows pure sickness on the part of anyone to believe that Hizballah should be "engaged" with on any level.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I'm a lurker.)

Please keep influencing your fellow Israelis...you do not have a friend in Obama. Neither does America. These are very strange days and I am still so shocked by the media complicity in electing this dangerous ideologue...the lies are so thick here and true American patriots also are alone. He has yet to mention the jihidi murder of a soldier the other day but was quick to denounce the killing of late-term abortionist (as was right to do.) He is selling you and us OUT...and we are not safe. Please try to ride this out but do not trust him. I wish I could help. Keep telling the truth and stay safe!

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sadly, he's right...we will have to treat Hezbollah differently because of their status as election winners. However, *what* we say to them is the real issue.

This goes both ways--Hezbollah will be on the hook to become real leaders, and they will be under a microscope, just as Hamas is now. It's one thing to be a shadowy terror group operating with impunity; it's another to be on the hook for an effective adminstration of government.


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