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> Hamas and the new Palestine, How can we engage?
Titus
post Jan 27 2006, 03:19 AM
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Hamas has routed the Fatah party in Palestinian parliamentary elections. They've won over 76 seats in the 132 seat house and Fatah office holders have resigned.

Hamas is now, for all intents and purposes, leading the Palestinian people.

Questions:

Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?

What must each side do to be successful?

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?




Editied to add link.

This post has been edited by Titus: Jan 27 2006, 03:22 AM
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Rev_DelFuego
post Jan 27 2006, 05:52 AM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?

From the the article it states that Hamas has already offered to honor the year long cease fire. What remains to be seen is whether or not they prosecute members of Islamic Jihad which have rejected it.

So far it seems that the US and Israel are the ones choosing to discontinue moving forward with the peace process by refusing to deal with the elected leaders of the Palestinian goverment. What is the worst that could happen, relations stay the same? They EU and UN seem more open to dialogue though.

What must each side do to be successful?

Return to the table, willing to make concessions.

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?

It's too early to tell right now. Before Hamas had little political clout, with the election they have the majority of the Palestinians behind them. As the article says though they are more concerned with the well being of the Palestinian people then the peace talks, what I think is the reason corrupted Fatah lost so much ground as it did. Israel is about to have an election of their own, so it depends largely on who they choose to be a partner in the peace talks to be. Netanyahu, I think, would be the death blow if he continues with his tough talk.

This post has been edited by Rev_DelFuego: Jan 27 2006, 10:43 AM
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Stefan Fargus
post Jan 27 2006, 08:33 AM
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QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 26 2006, 10:19 PM)


Questions:

Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?


While I feel we need to continually make an effort to broker whatever attainable level of peace there can be in that region, whether or not we can now be successful in engaging Hamas is going to depend largely on their own actions.

QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 26 2006, 10:19 PM)

What must each side do to be successful?


Hamas must cease any and all terrorist activities against the nation of Israel in order to be invited to the negotiating table. Since free nations will not negotiate with terrorists, and rightfully so, that becomes the chief prerequisite to any hope of peace.

The US and international community must make it known that if Hamas acts as a government, and not a terrorist organization, we will be willing to welcome them to the negotiating table, as with any other freely elected government.

QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 26 2006, 10:19 PM)

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?


I have to agree with Rev_DelFuego on this one. There are a number of factors that simply aren't available yet to determine this one way or the other. We'll have to wait and see what Hamas does in terms of cleaning up their act, and of course, the stance of the next Israeli PM.

This post has been edited by Stefan Fargus: Jan 27 2006, 08:34 AM
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Renger
post Jan 27 2006, 09:46 AM
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QUOTE
Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?


It depends on how Hamas will develop itself. If they keep on stressing their agressive views towards Israel I do not see why America, Europe or the rest of the international community would engage in peace talks. And chances a big that both the U.S. and the E.U. will stop their important financial aid towards Palestine. If Hamas, as the ruling party in Palestine, changes itself and take on a pragmatic and realistic stance on issues like terrorism, the destruction of Israel and the peacetalks, we should try to support them as much as possible.

QUOTE
What must each side do to be successful?


Israel should at least be open to a dialogue, although they regard Hamas as one of the biggest threats for the existence of Israel. Hamas are the democratically elected rulers of Palestine and should be given a chance to show that they are willing to work on all the problems in region.

Hamas should at least begin to demilitarize their party and militias, and stop this ridiculous and naive talk about the destruction of Israel (something they will never ever achieve, no matter how many poor slobs blow themselves up) If they really want to be taken seriously as a democratic government they really have to develop a pragmatic, diplomatic and realistic attitude.

But even if the above mentioned things will happen, the peacetalks will still be a really difficult process.

QUOTE
Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?


As the posters before me, I think it is still too early to tell. We just have to wait and see for the moment and watch how everything unfolds itself.

This post has been edited by Renger: Jan 27 2006, 09:48 AM
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loreng59
post Jan 27 2006, 11:37 AM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?
Not a chance. Hamas is dedicated to violence, they have said repeated that their charter that calls for the destruction of Israel is rooted in the Koran and not one word can be changed, modified or ignored period.

Nothing any country can do to stop especially the United States which Hamas hates almost as much as Israel. They also support Al Qaida's bombings in Europe, but for that matter so do the Palestinians by a majority of 65%.

As for the so-called Hudna, during that 'ceasefire' Hamas launched over 500 attacks that killed more than 50 people. That includes over 200 rocket attacks and 5 genocide bombings. That is how they 'honor' ceasefires.

What must each side do to be successful?
Hamas has stated that they will continue their 'armed struggle' against Israel no matter what. The only thing that can be done is end all foreign aid to the Palestine Authority and Israel close the borders and turn off all power and water. After the Palestinian Civil War ends then and only then is there anything to talk about.

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?
No Hamas is nothing like the IRA. This is a religious terrorist organization. They have announced that they will impose Shi'ra and that means an end to the rapid decline that the Arab Christians have already had. The rest of the ethnic cleansing will be completed and a Iranian style government imposed.

Fatah and Hamas are already shooting at each other, and both sides vow to kill each other. Last year more Palestinians were killed in inter-clan warfare than by attacking Israel. This will expand a hundredfold in the next few months.
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moif
post Jan 27 2006, 12:06 PM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?

Yes, if Hamas puts aside its former approach towards the problems faced by the Palestinians and adopts a peaceful stance.

Otherwise, I don't see how any one can deal with Hamas at all.


What must each side do to be successful?

Israel must give Hamas time to establish itself as a government and then decide how best to react to Hamas. I think at this point in the procedings the emphasis is most certainly on Hamas to demonstrate its best intentions.

Hamas must set up a credible government, utterly renounce violence and recognise Israel's right to exist. Only after these basic foundations have been laid can any further negotiations be built.


Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?

Realistically? No. I don't hold out much hope for the Palestinians after this appalling result.

I think what we have seen here is a clear indication of what happens to Islamic social structures which are placed under pressure. The Palestinians live in a climate where the blame for their misfortunes is always pushed on to some body else, and this appears to be one of the biggest problems with all Islamic society's. They simply can't accept responsibility for their own lives.

Fatah, for all its faults was beginning to accept responsibility for its own actions and decisions and it seems that this is the underlying reason why it has been discarded in favour of Hamas. Hamas's approach is to blame every one else for their own problems and especially Israel.

Whilst I believe Israel does hold a large portion of responsibility for what has taken place in the past, I don't see how that justifies the Palestinian people's decision to put a terrorist group into power at this time when peace was a real possibility.

The Palestinians have effectively chosen to continue to wage a war they can never win and I can't see how any one else, not Israel, not the EU, not the USA nor the UN can simply ignore that.


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lordhelmet
post Jan 27 2006, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 26 2006, 10:19 PM)
   
Hamas has routed the Fatah party in Palestinian parliamentary elections. They've won over 76 seats in the 132 seat house and Fatah office holders have resigned.   
   
Hamas is now, for all intents and purposes, leading the Palestinian people.   
   
Questions:   
   
Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?   
   
What must each side do to be successful?   
   
Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?
   
   
   
   
  Editied to add link.   
*
   



1. Can the US engage Hamas? No. They are a terrorist organization. In my opinion, we should do to them what we're doing to Al Qaeda and what we've done to the Taliban. At a minimum, we should diplomatically ignore them.

2. What much each side do? In my opinion, Israel should wake up from their delusions and realize that the enemy that they face has zero intention of reaching a peaceful settlement with them and cease this folly of "land for peace" which is only punishing their own brave citizens. This election just demonstrates what some have believed for a long time. There were many reports indicating that people cheered and celebrated in "Palestine" after 9/11 and that the most popular man in that area (and many other Islamic countries) is Bin Laden. Yet, we keep hearing that this sentiment is an aberration and that the Jihadists are a "minority" who do not represent the "mainstream" of opinion in places like Palestine. That's clearly and demonstrably false. What can Palestinians do? Well, they just made their choice and they did so in an "official" way via the ballot box. They chose violence, terrorism, and war with Israel. What can Israel do given those circumstances? Prevail. At a minimum, they should reverse the "land for peace" madness, stop the unrealistic projection of their "Judeo-Christian" value systems onto people who do not share those values, and realize that they are in a struggle for their very survival. Hamas and their supporters have made their choices and should be held accountable for the end result. Of course, the political left in both the United States and the Western European nations have for a long time taken the side of these terrorists and will probably blame Israel and the United States for the war that has now been made inevitable. But, that's another topic for another thread.

3. Can Hamas behave like the IRA? No. The IRA at least pretended to want "peace". But the biggest difference between the two situations is cultural. For all the violence that has occurred in the Irish "troubles", you're still describing a situation between Irish people sharing a common language, history (for the most part), basic religion (Christianity) and most importantly, Judeo-Christian value system. Catholics and Protestants, after all, are first cousins whether they admit it or not. Islam (even the mainstream minority) and Judaism cannot make that claim.

This situation has made a dangerous world even more dangerous. This, combined with Iran being ruled by a fanatic, and the fact the Jihad has been declared against the West due to its inherent nature as a predatory "religion" implies that we're nearing the boiling point in the confrontation between the West and Islam. The more interesting thing will be how those being attacked address the situation; by striking back or by continuing the idealistic projection of their own value system to those who do not share those values and who's clearly and stated objective is establishment of an Islamist world.
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bucket
post Jan 27 2006, 02:21 PM
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First I just want to point out how much money must have flowed into Hamas' hands at the run up to elections. They must have been like an ATM in the region prior to voting. Who was funding Hamas? Because I can guarantee you Hamas will have her debts to pay, someone can't wait to cash in on their investment.

I also wish to comment on why this should have not been the huge surprise many pretend it is...the Palestinians have been living their lives with no choices, this election was just a great portrayal of this reality of theirs...no choices, was there really some big huge massive ideological difference between the two?

Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?

I think now that Hamas is considered a legitimate political representative of the Palestinian people two things will happen....
Either the international world will accept the idea that the Palestinian state is a terrorist state and cut of and dismantle most diplomacy
or
Hamas will have a sense of responsibility or accountability to the people in Palestine and be forced to deal with their more trouble problems, like poverty, unemployment, medical needs etc and instead of continuing the Fatahs victimization of the Palestinian people they will pursue the uplifting of them.

I suppose it all depends on what the Palestinian people feel is the better, more desired future , the death of a martyr or living life itself.

Then again many states have achieved both...fanatical aspirations and domestic bliss.
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psyclist
post Jan 27 2006, 05:18 PM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?

No, the US has blocked and underminded countless UN resolutions and agreements by the international community that would end the process of "transfer" of Palestinians from their land. Unless the US starts to enforce these agreements, Hamas will have no reason to expect fair dealings with the US and Israel.

What must each side do to be successful?
1.) The US should stop treating Isreal like the 51st state.
2.) Israel should withdrawal to the '67 boarders, tear down their wall, remove the checkpoints, pay reperations and rebuild the infrastructure of Palestine as mandated by obligations of an Occupying Power.
3.) Hamas and the Palestinians should then stop their resistance against an occupying power and work to disarm groups that continue to attack Israel.
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Dontreadonme
post Jan 27 2006, 05:48 PM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successful results?
Only when Hamas renounces it's platform of violence against Israel, and not a moment before. If Hamas decides that it want to be a legitimate political entity, then the U.S. should continue it's efforts in the peace process.

What must each side do to be successful?

Both sides must agree on what a Palestinian/Israeli border will look like on the map, and how security will be enforced, by both sides. Both sides must also agree as to how the sovereignty of each state will be recognized.

Hamas must renounce it's platform of violence and amend it's charter to omit such phrases as:
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."


Hamas must recognize that the so called 'occupied territories' are technically and realistically occupied by Israel, but seized from Jordan, Egypt and Syria. Not a legitimate entity known as 'Palestine"

Israel must end the building of settlements, and devise a plan that works towards the transfer of settlement property and land to the palestinian state, once a peace deal is reached.

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Vermillion
post Jan 27 2006, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Jan 27 2006, 02:21 PM)
First I just want to point out how much money must have flowed into Hamas' hands at the run up to elections.  They must have been like an ATM in the region prior to voting.  Who was funding Hamas? 


Well over 50% of the funds in the coffers of Hamas come from individuals and organisations within Saudi Arabia. Until a few years ago, enormous funding came directly and openly from the Saudi state.


As to the status of Hamas: firstly, I think a bit of context is required. Yes Hamas is a terrorist organisation, no question. But how we see it and how the Palestinians see it are two entirely different matters.

Hamas is the main source of social welfare in Palestine. It runs an extensive social service network including medical clinics, educational facilities and programs that support families of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks. Hamas runs Charity committees throughout Palestine, and has helped tens of thousands of people who otherwise had nowhere else to go. The organisation is seen as a necessary counterbalance to Israeli attacks.

Hamas gets elected, not because of its suicide bombings of Israel, which most palestinians think is a waste of time. It gets elected because it feeds, clothes, heals and educates the Palestinian people. To most of them, that is all that matters.

While the US refusal to engage with Hamas in the past is understandable given the violent side to its activities, not engaging has allowed Hamas to spread unopposed through the nation. To those in the west who don't know anything more about hamas than it is a group which bombs people, the election results are a shock.

But to anyone who knows anything about the region, the fact that Hamas did not gain MORE votes is a surprise. Of course they were going to get elected if they ran, they are the social foundation of a large section of the country.


Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?


Regardless of the US stance on negotiating with terrorits, the HAVE TO engage with hamas now that it has formed a government organisation. Three reasons for this:

-One: They were elected democratically. The US keeps talking about exporting democracy to the world, well they have done so. The fact that the people elected someone the US does not like is essentially a side issue. Thinking of dthe US and emocracy in the Middle East: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it"
-Two: Actually being involved in the business of running a state has an enormous normalising effect on organisations. Once they have responsibility for sanitation and making sure the busses run on time, they tend to find themelves quite occupied. They might turn into a political party after all.
-Three: and most important: There needs to be SOME carrot for organistions to follow the route of democracy. The US has to deal with hamas at least to start, as much to give them a chance as to be SEEN to give them a chance to be a state-running organisation. If hamas does not change its spots, and keeps sending people to blow themselves up at Israeli bus stops, then the US can legitimately say "We tried to deal with them as a state, they refused to act as one" and proceed from there.

But to pretend that nothing has changed in Palestine and to refuse to deal with the legitimately elected government of the state is like the US sticking its head in the sand.


And to the far-righters who have posted the likes of "Hamas is pure evil and can never change cause the Koran says they can never change and they are pure evil", the reality is that Hamas has already changed, even before this election. They have removed the complete destruction of Israel from their political manifesto, and have shown signs of moderation. Of course they are still a violent organisation which recruits suicide bombers, so they have a LONG way to go, but perhaps they can change.

They need to be at least given a chnace to see what they can do with the new responsibility they just received... The US Continuing to ignore them has done no good so far, and will continue to do no good, not to mention it being terribly hypocritical...

This post has been edited by Vermillion: Jan 27 2006, 09:10 PM
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Eeyore
post Jan 27 2006, 06:55 PM
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Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successful results?
I believe that President Bush's initial response to this political development was the correct one. The US can engage with Hamas as long as they step into reality and remove their rhetorical commitment to the destruction of Israel. I use rhetorical not because Hamas members don't believe they have been committed to that goal, but because it has not been a graspable reality since the 1950s.

What must each side do to be successful?

I'm going to use the standard of must here to be "at a minimum". The minimum things that must be done are a commitment to a two-state solution and accountability for the actions of the citizens inside each other's borders. I believe that the foreign policy of the region has been dominated by real politik and that the only real movement has been driven by the political, economic, and military realities of the region. Both sides have something to win if peace and stability is achieved.

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?

I think this question might have been better written if the PLO was used. Remember the Fatah (sp?) party came out the the PLO which was a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of ISrael. It is definitely workable and may be an improvement from the recent situation. Hamas has been working independent of he government and it has been the bulk of the armed militants that have remained in place that ISrael has expected the PA government to disarm.

Hamas is much more capable of disarming themselves if they become so inclined. Also if they remain committed to striking out at Israel now they are doing in the official name of Palestine and that will result in a new military occupation or at least operation in Palestinian territories.

There are definitely things that can horrible wrong from here (from the Palestinian side since that is the focus of the thread.) I think the worst possible development would be for Hamas to split off a militant group and tacitly support (in a way that is difficult to see or prove) strikes against Israel while trying to engage Israel in peace talks from the role of a peaceful government with internal security problems. However, I think they would have to be very sophisticated to be able to pull this off and keep Israel in negotiations.

For me, this me actually hasten a two-state solution if Hamas moves to the position of committing to it.
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loreng59
post Jan 27 2006, 07:24 PM
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QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jan 27 2006, 01:30 PM)
Hamas is the main source of social welfare in Palestine. It runs an extensive social service network including medical clinics, educational facilities and programs that support families of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks. Hamas runs Charity committees throughout Palestine, and has helped tens of thousands of people who otherwise had nowhere else to go. The organisation is seen as a necessary counterbalance to Israeli attacks.

Hamas gets elected, not because of its suicide bombings of Israel, which most palestinians think is a waste of time. It gets elected because it feeds, clothes, heals and educates the Palestinian people. To most of them, that is all that matters.
*


So because they also run soap kitchens makes them somehow okay? They were elected because of the genocide bombings, and most Palestinians vigorously support and approve of them. This they have repeatedly said.

They have been clothed and fed by the UN for 57 years now. Nothing changed there. Charity was not the reason. By the way most of their funding is not from Saudi Arabia but Iran.

You are correct that I am surprised that Fatah got any seats. I figure that must be due their ballot stuffing the day before when Fatah voted.

As for having to engage Hamas, no that is the worst thing we can do. Congress and the White House are doing the right thing is discussing ending all aid to the PA. This is the only thing that may work.

But is in any case we need to wait until they finish their civil war. Because who ever gets in between will be a target.
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Ultimatejoe
post Jan 27 2006, 07:49 PM
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QUOTE
So because they also run soap kitchens makes them somehow okay? They were elected because of the genocide bombings, and most Palestinians vigorously support and approve of them. This they have repeatedly said.


That can't honestly be your interpretation of what he said, can it? I mean, it is painfully clear that what Vermillion was saying was that the social welfare that Hamas provides is what makes them popular.

I'm curious, who has repeatedly said they support Hamas for the bombings? If that is true, then why did cracking down on corruption (a huge problem in the PA), restoring infrastructure and ensuring law and order make up the entirety of the Hamas campaign inside the territories?
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Vermillion
post Jan 27 2006, 09:05 PM
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In your post you did two things. You deliberatly utterly misconstrued what I said to score cheap points, and you stated several complete factual inaccuracies.


QUOTE(loreng59 @ Jan 27 2006, 07:24 PM)
So because they also run soap kitchens makes them somehow okay?


Yes. Thats what I said. I clearly said that because Hamas runs soup kitchens, then that legitimises them completely and makes them completely fine. You can read how I made exactly this statement in my post, like when I said:

QUOTE
Yes Hamas is a terrorist organisation, no question.


or when I said:

QUOTE
Of course they are still a violent organisation which recruits suicide bombers


Or when I said:

QUOTE
If hamas does not change its spots, and keeps sending people to blow themselves up at Israeli bus stops,



So clearly from those three examples all in the same short post, I was clearly stating that because Hamas runs a soup kitchen, its suicide bombings don't matter and everything is fine.


Please.
What did you expect to accomplish by deliberatly twisting my words into the exact opposite of their obvious and repeated meaning? Did you think that would earn you some debating kudos, or maybe make people think you had somehow outmaneuvered me?


QUOTE
They were elected because of the genocide bombings, and most Palestinians vigorously support and approve of them. This they have repeatedly said.



So you say. You are however wrong.

Palestinians did support suicide bombings as a majority in 2002 during the intefada, but support has dropped enormously:

"AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF 85% SUPPORTS MUTUAL CESSATION OF VIOLENCE, TWO THIRDS SUPPORT RETURN TO HUDNA, AND 59% SUPPORT TAKING MEASURES AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD VIOLATE A CEASEFIRE"
(Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah)

Or even better, this time from an Israeli source:
http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Briefs/5163.htm


As I said, they voted for Hamas because it is the primary source of education, food, support for victims and medicine in Palestine.


QUOTE
By the way most of their funding is not from Saudi Arabia but Iran.


Again, you are wrong. Until 1992, Saudi provided almost 75% of funding for Hamas, and this is state funding (most of the rest was from Kuwait). After 1992, State funding ceased and was taken over by private organisations and individuals in Saudi, though with state money. The percentage of funding Saudi gives to Hamas has dropped to around 55%-60%, but it is still larger than every other source combined.


QUOTE
I figure that must be due their ballot stuffing the day before when Fatah voted.


I see. You dont like them, therefore they MUST have cheated.


QUOTE
As for having to engage Hamas, no that is the worst thing we can do. Congress and the White House are doing the right thing is discussing ending all aid to the PA. This is the only thing that may work.


So, is the US pre-democracy or not? because if not Bush Jr. is going to have to change a lot of his talking points.


And since your plan of refusing to engage Hamas has done a BANG-UP job so far, your new plan is to... ignore them again? Best of luck with that.


Without US funding, I suppose other countries will have to step in to fnd the new state. Saudi, Iran, Syria... yeah, really good plan.




Oh, and by the way, this weak attempt to once again rebrand suicide bombing is just silly. As though somehow suicide bombing was too nice a phrase? Homocide bombing just makes no sense, and genocide bombing is just absurd.

This post has been edited by Vermillion: Jan 27 2006, 09:08 PM
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loreng59
post Jan 27 2006, 09:28 PM
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vermillion

You have posted so many errors that it will take a few days to answer them all.

First off I said Fatah stuffed the ballot boxes, which is one of the reasons for the current gun battles going on as I write this. I thought Hamas would win more seats than it did.

Second your favorite source of information on the thoughts of the Palestinians has of yesterday:
Fateh wins 58 seats; Hamas wins 53 seats; 13 seats for all other factions and 8 seats remain undetermined. Do you really consider them accurate?

Third Iran has recently become the largest contributor to Hamas.

Will get the rest to you when I can
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moif
post Jan 27 2006, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE(Global Security.org @ 2003)
HAMAS receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states.
Link.

QUOTE(FrontPage mag)
A critic of the Saudi government, Stephen Schwartz, author of "The Two Faces of Islam" and a senior policy analyst with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said the refusal to condemn Hamas was typical.

"Why am I not surprised?" he asked. "They control Hamas. Why did Brezhnev not condemn the Communist Party in the United States?"
Link.

QUOTE(Israel Insider)
Hamas, the Islamic terror organisation run out of the Palestinian-held territories, operates with the lifeblood of tens of millions of dollars, mostly raised from various Islamic funds and foundations around the globe.

In excess of twenty million dollars has been raised by a network of Hamas-affiliated organisations, many of whom are based in Europe.
Link.

QUOTE(One Jerusalem.org @ 2003)
More than 50 percent of Hamas's funding comes from Saudi Arabia, and is increasing despite US President George W. Bush's call to the kingdom to halt aid to Palestinian terrorist groups, Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and a researcher of terrorist financing, said Tuesday.
Link.

QUOTE(CNN)
LEVITT: They get the money from three main sources. The first is from Iran. But unlike Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which get almost all their money from Iran, Hamas likes to remain independent. It only gets a few million dollars from Iran, let's say 10 to 20.

CAFFERTY: Where does the rest of it come from? LEVITT: The second source is Saudi Arabia, both official government sources and Saudi charities and members of the Saudi elite who are allowed and tolerated to fund Hamas and other terrorist groups. And there, too, we're talking about the low tens of millions of dollars.

And the third source is charities operating internationally, in the Middle East as well, but primarily in Western Europe and the United States, which are perceived as cash cows. In the United States, the government has shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development back in December, 2001. In its last year of operation, it alone raised $13 million for Hamas.
Link.

QUOTE(Wikipedia)
While the administration has since been reported to have renounced its ties with CAIR over the latter's alleged support for Hezbollah and Hamas, a number of mainstream politicans maintain friendly relations. In 2005, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida wrote to congratulate CAIR for its accomplishments on the occasion of its annual banquet.

Critics point to several public comments, including those made by Omar Ahmad, who told a crowd of Californian Muslims in July 1998: "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran ... should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." In 1994, Nihad Awad declared during a meeting at Barry University that he was a "supporter of the Hamas movement."

Critics have also taken aim at CAIR's fundraising and sources of funds. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, CAIR's website solicited donations for what it called the "NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund." However, clicking on the donation link led to a website for donations to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity whose assets were later frozen and confiscated by the United States Department of the Treasury because, according to United States Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, HLF "masquerade[d] as a charity, while its primary purpose [was] to fund Hamas."
Link.

QUOTE(USINFO)
• The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, headquartered in Richardson, Texas, raises millions of dollars annually for HAMAS. Last year, Holy Land raised over $13 million.

• Holy Land supports HAMAS activities through direct fund transfers to its offices in the West Bank and Gaza and transfers of funds to Islamic charity committees ("zakat committees") and other charitable organizations that are part of HAMAS or controlled by HAMAS members. Many of the key officers and directors of the Holy Land Foundation are HAMAS members or associates.
Link.

QUOTE(News Max)
In announcing a freeze on assets of a U.S. charity for allegedly funneling money to the militant Palestinian group Hamas, President Bush called Hamas "one of the deadliest terrorist organizations in the world today.” But according to a recent BBC report, a top Hamas official downplayed the practical implications of being included on Bush’s financial blacklist, saying it would not affect the group’s "secret” sources of funding.

[snip]

According to the ministry reports, the government of Iran contributes about 3 million dollars a year for all Hamas activities.

The ministry report suggests that there are four central Hamas charity funds in the West: Great Britain’s Palestine Relief and Development Fund, "Interpal;” the United States’ Holy Land Foundation; Germany’s Al Aqsa Foundation, with branches in Belgium and Holland; and France’s Comite de Bienfaisance et Solidarite avec la Palestine.
Link.

QUOTE
Until he was arrested last month, Yakub Muhamad Yakub Abu Etzev was in contact via e-mail with senior Hamas officials in Saudi Arabia. According to Israeli authorities, Abu Etzev confessed to receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Hamas headquarters in Saudi Arabia as well as instructions that he passed on to Hamas field operatives.
Link.

It seems to me that Hamas is funded by all sorts of people and these arguments as to whether they are sponsored by Iran or Saudi Arabia completely miss the point.

The point is, Hamas IS funded, and to the tune of 50-70 million dollars a year.

This money does not come from just one source, it comes from people right across the Islamic world, even in the west, and there is apparently nothing the west can do to stop it...

Now the Islamic resistance movement of Hamas has been elected by the Palestinians.
Hamas has no experience of government. It has a clear terrorist agenda, regardless of its 'charity work'. It is politically unsupported by just about every power in the west and as the legitimate government of Palestine it needs western aid and ecoomic support if it is to run the Palestinian 'State'.

Israel alone donates two thirds of the funds needed to run the Palestinian government and its infrastructure and as Loreng has pointed out, it also controls the water and power supply to most all the Palestinian territories. If it wishes to, Israel can crush the Palestinians simply by shutting off all or even some of these supplies and I would add that neither Israel or any one else is obliged to help the Palestinians.

Does Hamas have anything new to offer the Palestinians? It can't run the Palestinian state without assisstance from Israel. It can't maintain its charity works if it doesn't have the cash that requires. Hamas is said to have 50 - 70 million per year of its own funds whilst the Palestinian infrastructure requires about 5-600 million per year (these figures are those currently being quoted on BBC World by a former Palestinian Minister)

If Hamas decides to defy Israel and continue its attacks, then since it is now the official government of Palestine, then its actions warrant any defence Israel deems necessary, so Hamas cannot even continue the armed struggle it was founded for.

All things considered, Hamas has nothing to offer the Palestinians. All this election appears to have acheived is to put the Palestinans back 20 odd years to the days when Yasser Arafat was a wanted terrorist and the PLO was widely considered to be a terrorist organisation.

Shimon Peres has told the BBC he still believes the majority of Palestinians want peace. I hope he's right though I can't see how voting Hamas into power demonstrates any wish for peace.


edited to fix a link

This post has been edited by moif: Jan 27 2006, 11:28 PM
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carlitoswhey
post Jan 28 2006, 12:52 AM
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QUOTE(psyclist @ Jan 27 2006, 11:18 AM)
What must each side do to be successful?
1.) The US should stop treating Isreal like the 51st state.
2.) Israel should withdrawal to the '67 boarders, tear down their wall, remove the checkpoints, pay reperations and rebuild the infrastructure of Palestine as mandated by obligations of an Occupying Power.
3.) Hamas and the Palestinians should then stop their resistance against an occupying power and work to disarm groups that continue to attack Israel.

So, first the Israelis should withdraw and tear down the wall that is reducing suicide bombings of their civilians. This way, Hamas can get even closer to Israel with missles and bombers. Only then, should Hamas stop their "resistance" which tends to include sending their sons to bus stops with explosives strapped to their bodies. Never mind that the Palestinians promised to renounce violence in Oslo.

One thing has been bugging me - I can't count the number of times the past few days that NPR and other news outlets have informed me that the US and Europe "consider" Hamas to be a terrorist organization. No matter how many times they claim to want to eliminate Israel or blow up buses, it's still the bad US "claiming" that they are terrorists. Ok. The only phrase more over-used is that Hamas is going to "moderate" now that they have been elected. Sure.

The Palestinians get their election, Jimmy Carter say that Hamas is made up of "so called terrorists" (but hey it's not corrupt!) and they choose a genocidal death cult as their exemplar and now we have civil war. Seriously, they elected a mother of 4 "martyrs" and a guy named "Hitler." And some of us thought that Yasser Arafat in the UN was obscene. This takes the cake.

I agree with moif - this whole mess has only set these poor people back another 20 years.
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Julian
post Jan 28 2006, 02:22 AM
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This whole issue is pretty tricky for the West - for decades now, we've been saying to tha Arab world that feee democracy is the way forward for them, especially in the post-9-11 world.

And now we seem to be finding that when they DO vote in free and impartial elections (and let's be clear - these Palestinian elections have been cleaner even than the recent Iraqi elections- and have had rahter less international condemnation form impartial observers than the 2000 US Presidential election or the 2005 UK Generla Election, so far.)

Democracy seems to be a bit of a female dog in this regard, or maybe just like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.

Can the U.S., whether on it's own or as a part of the international community, engage Hamas in maintaining a level of peace in the region with successfull results?[/b[

Internationally (and here, I don't think the US is different from anywhere else except for it's influence to and by Israel) we [b]have
to both condemn Hamas for it's links to terrorism AND deal with them somehow. We have to deal with them because the overwhelming majority of Palestinians - even taken as a whole and not just the ones who voted (much as that might not easily compute in the lackadaisical democratic West) - have voted for them in elections that were both free and fair.

Saying we won't talk with the new Hamas government, however much we might dislike them, is tantamount to saying we just don't like Palestinians, in a way that's materially different from saying we don't like the Iranian government (whose elctions were not free or fair) or the Chinese government (who we're falling over ourselves to be buddies with, but who have never held any meaningful elections. At all. Ever).

We also need to bear in mind the excellent points made by Vermillion and UltimateJoe; the very fact of being in a real live government - with all the mundanities that comes with that - will of necessity moderate Hamas' position in time.

What must each side do to be successful?

Swlallow their pride and start talking anyway.

Do you think Hamas can be engaged the same way the IRA was?

Yes, that's a useful model.

People forget now, but when the British government first engaged with the IRA it was covert engagement, while bombing campaigns were still active, and while Margaret Thatcher was still personally a target for their bombers and mortars, and publically posturing as a 'no compromise' person. The IRA / Sinn Fein leadership at the time were still committed to the absolute removal of British sovereignty (a useful, but not exact, analogy to the refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the state of Israel which is the official Hamas line). I've little regard for her as a poltician, but in this she was admirably pragmatic.

Especially since, at the same time, she ordered the security services to infiltrate the IRA/Sinn Fein asd if it were merely an organisd crime syndicate (which in large part it was) - something that the modern muscular denial, implacable oppostion, and largely military approach to Islamic terrorism as practised by Israel and now the USA/UK fatally ignores, IMO.

Through this approach, the worst elements of the IRA spectrum were in prison, leaving the more reasonable people in the movement (and the militants who realised that reason was the best course, like the current IRA/Sinn Fein leadership) as the ones who could achieve anything useful.

At which point, the Major and then the Blair governments had a hand to play. They played it very well, especially Blair, with help from the Clinton administration in the US. (Can it be a total conincidence that political progress in NI has largely stalled since the Bush administration withdrew their active support?)

So, the first thing to do is acknowledge that there is some degree of legitimacy to the Hamas point of view - even if you don't accept all of it - on the basis of their new democratic mandate. (Nobody expects Israel or the US to suddenly admit their wholly culpable error and start the evacuation - except perhaps a few senior funders and propagandists for Hamas, al Qaeda, etc., and they're the people we need to isolate.)

Then you start talking to them - initially on tangential matters, perhaps. Border patrols, work permits, trade, etc.

All the while cracking down on the criminal activities, in this case terrorism and anything illegal that funds it, on exactly that level - not through military operations but through police, prosecution, trial and conviction (the people you imprison on this basis could prove useful to you later - ones that you kill will only ever be useful to your opponents, as matyrs, later).

Once you have some sensible and functioning communication channels open, and the most militant loons are in jail, you can start to deliver the type of progress that makes the lives of ordinary Palestinians better.

Then, you're one a sweetly slippery slope - the lives of the voters who put them in power are better, so why on earth would the politicians do anything to jeopardise their re-election? The first principle of democracy is that people who get paid to represent the interest of other people have a personal interest in extending the amount of time they get paid to do it.

People in the new state of Palestine will only vote for Hamas again if they think their lives are better for it, and Hamas will want them to vote that way because they will have to go back to proper jobs (or to shooting and being shot at[/I[ by the IDF) otherwise.

On another tack, the election of hardliners like Hamas could potentially be a [I]good
thing, just as the election of Sharon by the Israelis was widely viewed as a good thing by observers. A hardline government that makes concessions (like Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza) will be more widely supported than a weak minority government of equivocators (which, arguably, Fata had become).

If the Hamas leadership is brave enough to lead, and do it peacefully (both of which are currently questionable, I admit) we could yet look back on this election as the best of all possible results.

For these reasons, Isreal, the US, and the rest of the world should cautiously engage with the new Hamas government (and, let's be fair, they've already said they want a non-partisan government of national unity anyway). Worst case scenario, we'll be giving themselves enough rope to hang themselves by which, in that case, would be a good thing.
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Titus
post Jan 28 2006, 02:50 AM
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QUOTE
Moif

Fatah, for all its faults was beginning to accept responsibility for its own actions and decisions and it seems that this is the underlying reason why it has been discarded in favour of Hamas. Hamas's approach is to blame every one else for their own problems and especially Israel.

Whilst I believe Israel does hold a large portion of responsibility for what has taken place in the past, I don't see how that justifies the Palestinian people's decision to put a terrorist group into power at this time when peace was a real possibility.

The Palestinians have effectively chosen to continue to wage a war they can never win and I can't see how any one else, not Israel, not the EU, not the USA nor the UN can simply ignore that.


I disagree, Moif. I think the underlying reason why the Palestinian people chose Hamas was that it was a couple decades too late to start "accepting responsibilty" for it's actions and that life was not getting better, but it was clearly getting worse. So, while Hamas is a terror group, they were free of the corruption and nepotism that plagued Fatah and that they actually appeared to care for the well being of the Palestinian people.

I'm sure the first thing on the mind of many a Palestinian was not the escalation of a conflict with Israel, but the fact that he/she is unemployed, has no health care, and he/she's kid has no educational support.

So why should we not attempt to focus on that aspect and tie in support for their social programs with how the rest of their group acts? Why is it impossible to think that it can be done?

LordHelmet, you gave no clear solution but that "Israel must prevail", and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you envision that by Israel rolling in shell in hand and starting an all out war. A war which you say will be blamed on the US and Israel by the left in American and Europe.

Now, if Hamas decides to focus on helping the lives of the Palestinians, and not blowing up Israelis, who gets the blame for choosing not to talk at all?

Obviously, the burden of that proof is on Hamas and the Palestinian government, but if they come to the table, and we refuse to talk, we've only ourselves to blame, and here's why.

By not talking, we gain nothing and stand to lose so much more. By forcing the politicians to rein in the militant wing of their party/group by tying our support with their "good behavior", we help our imagine in the region and we force Hamas to make changes within itself.

QUOTE
LordHelmet

Catholics and Protestants, after all, are first cousins whether they admit it or not. Islam (even the mainstream minority) and Judaism cannot make that claim.


Um, no.

In fact, Arabs and Jews share a blood relationship. Abraham (Ibrahim, to the Muslims) fathered two sons. Issac and Ishmail. Issac is a patriarch of the Jews, Ishmail a patriarch of the Arab Muslims. So, in reality, they have more of a claim to being "cousins" than a bunch of people who were converted thousands of years later do.

Just wanted to get that straight.

Bucket

QUOTE
I think now that Hamas is considered a legitimate political representative of the Palestinian people two things will happen....
Either the international world will accept the idea that the Palestinian state is a terrorist state and cut of and dismantle most diplomacy
or
Hamas will have a sense of responsibility or accountability to the people in Palestine and be forced to deal with their more trouble problems, like poverty, unemployment, medical needs etc and instead of continuing the Fatahs victimization of the Palestinian people they will pursue the uplifting of them.

I suppose it all depends on what the Palestinian people feel is the better, more desired future , the death of a martyr or living life itself.


You've hit the nail on the head, Bucket. They've already stated that the latter of your options is, for the time being, their main focus. Suicide bombings and truck bombs won't bring employment and health care, and if any future state is possible, it won't survive unless strong social programs are in place. If we can support legitimate means of achieving this, what is there to lose?

I agree with some of the comments made about Hamas renouncing it's old platform, but I think that will only happen after time.

What's scarier than Hamas being elected is me actually agreeing with Vermillion. ph34r.gif

I think all of us here agree the carrot that all politicians share, regardless of ideology is the ability to stay in office. If the stick we use (and hopefully the Palestinians use as well) involves tying support with behavior, there's a chance to make lots of progress.

QUOTE
Loreng59

Hamas has stated that they will continue their 'armed struggle' against Israel no matter what. The only thing that can be done is end all foreign aid to the Palestine Authority and Israel close the borders and turn off all power and water. After the Palestinian Civil War ends then and only then is there anything to talk about. 


So after some like Al-Qaeda takes advantage of the situation, that's when we start talking? blink.gif

I can imagine I supprised many people on this board with my stance towards this issue, but the fact is we know what the Hamas politicians plan to do for the most part. We don't know who's gonna come out on top of a West Bank Battle Royale and what that group's agenda is going to be. I'll put my money in the Devil I know.


QUOTE
Loreng59

You are correct that I am surprised that Fatah got any seats. I figure that must be due their ballot stuffing the day before when Fatah voted.



I won't argue that some ballot tampering is possible, but when 77% of registered Palerstinian voters come out (a turnout that is 25% better than our own), I'd say it's a non-issue.


QUOTE
Loreng59

As for having to engage Hamas, no that is the worst thing we can do. Congress and the White House are doing the right thing is discussing ending all aid to the PA. This is the only thing that may work.


So not dealing with the problem is the best way to solve it? The fact remains that they are the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, and if we do seek to broker a peace deal, we will have to deal with them.

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