The fading ember of hope

As Hamas grows closer and closer to becoming the legitimate government of Palestine, they are coming under increasing scrutiny. Meanwhile, their apologists are grasping at any straws to show that they are ready to make peace with Israel.

The Arab News, the mouthpiece of the Saudi government, is leading the charge.

They have two articles up right now that are pushing the notion that Hamas is ready to make peace. And even by their standards, it’s a hell of a stretch.

First up, we have word that the future Palestinian Prime Minister is ready for a long-term truce with Israel. All that has to happen is Israel has to meet a few minor concessions. If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, they will be willing to consider cutting back on the fighting.

In 1967, all of Israel’s neighbors were bracing for a war. Egypt announced a blockade of Israel’s only Red Sea port at Eilat, an act of war. Then Israel retaliated by attacking, and in six days handed the Arab world its biggest defeat in history. Israel took the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, and the entire Sinai peninsula from Egypt — all areas that had been used for an unremitting series of attacks before the war.

(A quick aside: Egypt got the Sinai back when it signed a peace treaty with Israel in the 70’s. Syria still remains technically at war with Israel, so Israel still holds the Golan. And Jordan had held the West Bank from 1948 to 1967, but never claimed the territory. )

So let’s look at what Hamas wants: if Israel gives up these territories, won in war and held (but never annexed) until peace treaties are signed, it will agree to a cease-fire for a few years. In brief: give us all that, and we’ll stop attacking you for a bit.

The devil, as they say, is in the details. For one, Hamas is bargaining as if it is in a position of strength. They are in no such position. For another, they clearly say that the cease-fire is only temporary, and reassert their resolve to destroy Israel. Which, by the way, they still have no intention of recognizing.

And let’s look at that “cease-fire.” The customary term is “Hudna.” This refers to Mohammed’s pact with the original rulers of Mecca after they defeated him. He agreed to ten years of peace — then, two years later, over an extremely flimsy pretext, returned with his greatly-expanded army and conquered Mecca.

Under that precedent, this offer of 10 to 15 years of cease-fire translates into 2 or 3 years, during which time Hamas will be building up its forces for a decisive battle. Yeah, real tempting offer there.

This “offer” (which was promptly repudiated by other Hamas spokesmen) is laughable at best, and “insane” might be a better term. Naturally, it’s being welcomed by the usual suspects — not only the rest of the Arab world, but by the US State Department.

Meanwhile, while one or two Hamas officials say pretty words (and even that’s a stretch), other Hamas members are speaking quite clearly through deeds. There’s been no diminuition of Qassam rocket attacks on Israel, and last week a Hamasshole “expert bombmaker” did the world a favor: while teaching his art to a bunch of eager students, he managed to blow himself straight to hell.

I had a brief moment of optimism when Hamas won the elections, that the sudden shock of victory would bring about some signs of sanity. Now I fear that optimism — never more than marginally based in reality — was misplaced. The only thing I see happening now is Hamas officially taking the reins of power, at which point their attacks become formal acts of war.

And nations tend to take very dim views of acts of war. Israel especially. Remember 1967.

My trip through the desert and what I saw there
Bonfire Of The Vanities #139 - Reminder

20 Comments

  1. Nicholas February 27, 2006
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  20. ed February 28, 2006