Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Hamas fail

I've heard this idea circulating recently: in order to defeat, or at least delegitimize Hamas to the Palestinian people, Israel must negotiate with it. If that process fails, Hamas would lose power just like Fatah did in the years following the failure of the Camp David peace talks.

It is fair to say that most Palestinians and Arabs (at least those that live in the West) don't agree with Hamas' ideology. But because of the lack of political maturation and self-criticism of the Palestinians, they don't have many options between the radical Islamic (and antisemitic) Hamas and the corrupt Fatah. That is one reason why Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. Many people, Jews, Israelis, or otherwise, some of whom I call "friends" on Digg and the real world, believe that the Palestinians have so demonized the Israelis (and Jews) to their children that the Palestinians can't be trusted now and probably for generations to come. This is something we have to accept, though it is easy for me to say that here from the safety of the United States. I'm sure that many, if not most, Arabs have negative perceptions of Jews and Israelis. We, in general, also have negative perceptions about Arabs.

I think Jews, especially in Israel, need to have more dialogue with the Arabs. Emotions need to be expressed and felt by both sides. We all cry, smile, and laugh the same way. Hopefully, through enough dialogue, we would be smiling together for it is contagious - or so I'm told. There is so much to be said by commoners like us that don't participate in negotiations or government decisions.

So why do I still hold reservations on whether Israel should talk to Hamas after expressing a need for dialogue between Israelis/Jews and Palestinians/Arabs? One reason is that Hamas is blatantly antisemitic. There are some lines you don't cross. This might be one of them. A second reason is that if Israel talks or even acknowledges Hamas as the representative of the Palestinians, it would create a dangerous precedent. As I said before, Hamas is an antisemitic organization. But also, the nature of Palestinian politics and the way their elections were held in 2006 gives Israel and the West a bad taste about 'democracy.' Political factions MUST disarm in order to run for elections. This won't resolve the first reason of why Israel can't talk to Hamas but at least it would mature Palestinian politics. Political factions in Iraq had to disarm and hopefully the nature of Iraqi politics would mature further but there hasn't been any alarming issue other than troop withdrawal and inability for them to spend money which is understandable.

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