Prague Twin

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bombs or Butter

My position on giving money to the Hamas led Palestinian Authority was laid out here, and here.

The crux of my argument is that Hamas is responsible for feeding the palestinian people. They should be brought into the fold of politics and that their funding should not be cut so long as they maintain the ceasefire. Jokingly, I said someone should take them aside and tell them to tone down the rhetoric. I was more that a little surprised when Putin immediatley invited Hamas for a visit. I'm not sure what his motivations are, but he seems to be genuinely interested in helping Hamas become legitimate.

The west is trying to use the stick by cutting off aid, however, Russia and Iran have come to the rescue with emergency aid. As the article points out, Americans have taken further measures to economically suffocate Hamas by prohibiting Americans to do business with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. Sanctions like these will likely serve to further impoverish the people and give rise to further extremism. If nothing else, it pushes Hamas closer to Iran and Russia, as we have seen.

Now to me, the most interesting part of the story was down at the end.

From the article..

"Hamas should... recognise Israel and sit down at the negotiating table. But for that it's necessary to work with them," he said.

Zach at Indisputable Truth asks, "What the heck is going on down there?"

Well, Zach, someone is trying to talk some sense into these guys. Tell the public what they want to hear. Iran and Russia are two perfect examples of how to do what you want politically while paying lip service to your critics around the world. If Hamas expects to survive in global politics, they will have to reform their mission statement, maintain the cease-fire and generally disavow terrorism. They have been quite silent since the election, but today's bombing in Tel Aviv put further pressure on them to change their tune. The irony is that Iran, who allegedly supports Islamic Jihad, who takes responsibility for the attack, is the one giving Hamas advice on how to be a better neighbor.

Anyone who follows this issue closely knows that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are completely different in scope and size. But until they denounce the use of the intentional killing of innocents, the world will view them identically.


  • Considering Hamas' approval of the suicide bombing that killed 9 civilians and wounded 60, do you still they they should be negotiated with?

    By Blogger Crazy Politico, at 12:33 AM  

  • Yes. But only because they are the elected leaders. They should be strongly admonished by the world community. I believe they must renounce attacks focused on innocents.

    Essentially, right now, they are blowing it. This was a good opportunity to come out and say that Islamic Jihad should honor the cease-fire that Hamas has largely adheared to. They did not do that. This is a mistake.

    But lets not forget all of the horrible killers we have negotiated with in the past. Let's not forget that we still negotiate with the government that shelters the man most responsible for nuclear proliferation, even going so far to call them an ally.

    You can't expect to cut off funding and negotiations and get a good result. I think history bears me out on this one. The only chance at getting Hamas to renounce violence is to try to bring them into the fold. Get them to understand the rules. I really believe that it could happen.

    In the meantime, someone must act to avert a humanitarian crisis.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 2:00 AM  

  • Isn't the bombing in Tel Avi you and crazy politico talk about not keeping the cease fire? Regarding the choice of your post's title, haven't the Palestinians chosen bombs? I too wish we could negotiate with the elected government and support the 'peaceful' Palestinians, but we don't negotiate with or pay terrorists (at least not out in the open).

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 2:59 AM  

  • If they had engineered it, yes, it would have been breaking it.

    I don't think Hamas is pulling the strings. Islamic Jihad did. Like I said, they are wrong to endorse it, but for instance Iran supports terrorism and we have just announced bi-lateral talks.

    What kind of message are we sending? We won't negotiate with anyone who supports terrorists.... unless we are afraid they are developing a nuclear bomb?

    Seems like the wrong message.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:13 AM  

  • The US seems to believe that political change can be effected by depriving the population of a country. If you look back through recent efforts, the only really successful application of this theory was South Africa, all other examples have had no real effect on leadership. Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, N. Korea.

    The intended effect is to put pressure on the political leadership by creating a dissatisfied population, but the real effect, with S. Africa being the counter example, is to force hardship upon the people of those countries.

    I don't know what other levers could be applied, but stringent sanctions have been woefully ineffective except in causing suffering.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:25 PM  

  • I really don't either Mike, but like you say, sactions are effective at starving the population.

    In S. Africa, you have the DeBeers family who was losing millions and millions of dollars. If you can starve a corportation out, you might get a result. But if you starve a poor country, you tend to just get starving people.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:06 PM  

  • Hamas can obtain legitimacy, much like the IRA, but it's a long road and there's no quick fix. The Palestinian people giving power to Hamas is not necessarily a mass validation of their support of terror tactics. Hamas have been helping them, while their former government screwwed them for profit. While acknowledging Israel is a step, Israel is also going to have to acknowledge Hamas; since both refuse it's a stale-mate.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 8:19 PM  

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