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Titus
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.
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Rev_DelFuego
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.
Stefan Fargus
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.
Renger
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.
loreng59
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.
moif
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.


lordhelmet
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.
bucket
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.
psyclist
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.
Dontreadonme
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
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...
Eeyore
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.
loreng59
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.
Ultimatejoe
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?
Vermillion
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.
loreng59
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
moif
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)
ē 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.

ē 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.Ē But according to a recent BBC report, a top Hamas official downplayed the practical implications of being included on Bushís financial blacklist, saying it would not affect the groupís "secretĒ 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 Britainís Palestine Relief and Development Fund, "Interpal;Ē the United Statesí Holy Land Foundation; Germanyís Al Aqsa Foundation, with branches in Belgium and Holland; and Franceís 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
carlitoswhey
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.
Julian
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.
Titus

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.

DaytonRocker
Ahhh...the comfort of knowing the spread of democracy spreads peace. What does this make Bush? 0 fer 2 so far?

Short term, this is a disaster. Long term, it's the best thing that could happen in the region. If I were Bush/Rice, I would tell Hamas to come to the peace table and effect a peaceful solution. And I would also tell them any acts of aggression are acts of war and will be treated as such. The Palestinian behavior will not end until a: their government changes their stance on the existence of Israel or b: they have been completely defeated in war. I just don't see any other effective solutions.

Israel has been dancing around this problem to appease the global community. Arafat would denounce violence in English, but support it in Arabic. The ploy has always been to blame out-of-control factions when it is clear that these elections vindicate the assumption that Israel's destruction is a mandate - not a nuisance.

Israel and it's allies (which include us) should tell Hamas forthwith - acts of aggression will not be tolerated and any acts not severely dealt with by the Palestinian government will be considered acts of war met with overwhelming force.

If it were me in charge, I'd turn the Palestinian areas into one huge parking lot. Nothing short of that will solve this problem. In my mind, the "peaceful people of the Palestinian territories" are not innocent bystanders any longer (along with being an oxymoron). They have spoken with one voice and should suffer the consequences of their actions. As previously stated, they have made a choice.

Now they will have to either live or die by it.
Billy Jean
QUOTE
They have spoken with one voice and should suffer the consequences of their actions. As previously stated, they have made a choice.

Now they will have to either live or die by it.


I agree completely, unfortunately, I truly see things spiraling out of control and spilling over, heck it already is. I don't think there is any solution on the table at the moment that either side would agree with. I think that the next phase of escallation will be in March and the outcome of Israel's election, and I think Benjamin Netenyahu will unite his people under a banner of self presivation and will win and with that, I don't see any peace. sad.gif
Dontreadonme
QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Jan 28 2006, 08:06 AM)
They have spoken with one voice and should suffer the consequences of their actions. As previously stated, they have made a choice.

Now they will have to either live or die by it.
*


This statement will turn prophetic.

QUOTE
"As long as we are under occupation then resistance is our right," he said.

Mashaal's call comes in staunch contrast with international calls on Hamas to abolish its armed wing following its landslide victory in the Palestinian elections.

"Resistance is a legitimate right that we will practice and protect. Our presence in the legislature will strengthen the resistance," he said.

Link

QUOTE
NABLUS, West Bank, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A faction of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said on Saturday it would not observe a truce with Israel after Fatah lost to the militant Islamic group Hamas in a Palestinian parliamentary election.

"The truce is not binding for us after the election. The bullets of the brigades will be directed towards Israel and the corrupt people (in Fatah).

Link

It appears that Hamas and the other assorted riff raff aren't interested in continuing the peace process. Surprise surprise.
Vermillion
As I have said, one way or another it is necessary for the US to make an attempt to deal with Hamas as a state government. I laid out the reasons for that in my previous post.


But here is another reason why engagement might be the absolute best answer, and it came from the whole IRA compairason. When the IRA 'went political', it was still a violent terrorist organisation. But what that created was a subtle split in the party.There were now avenues for both political and violent 'solutions' to the Irish problem. As time went on, the violent IRA caused deaths and were hunted by the SAS, while the political IRA worked with the British government. By engaging the political wing, the British isolated the violent extremists, and showed the people of Ireland that there were NON-violent solutions possible.


I have discussed at great length here the various sections of Hamas which garner the support of the Palestinians: doctors, social workers, educators and so on. Hamas represents a vast proprtion of all the social fabric of the fledgling state.

Yet I bet these doctors, educators and social workers are NOT the same people that volunteer for suicide bombings. The organisation may be ripe for the exact same kind of split which hobbled the IRA. I stated most people in Palestin voted for Hamas because of its social work, but I am sure there are also those who voted for Hamas because of its violent 'resistance' (in their eyes) to Israel. There people make votes like this because they are dienfranchised, angry and feel that they have no other choice.


Now, the US has an opportunity. While still condemning terror and violence, they can engage Hamas in a dialogue of nations. Singleminded orgganisations like Islamic Jihad can afford to be uncompromising, but the business of being a goovernment demands compromise wheither you like it or not. So the scene is set for a division between the politicians of Hamas and the violent extremists of Hamas. And if we can show that things CAN be accomplished by working with the politicians...


On the otherhand if the ultra-hawks here have their way; Hamas as a government body is isolated and no attempt is made to engage, then there is no reason for the politicians and the violent extremists of Hamas to differ, both are backed into a corner. Except now they have the ADDED ammunition of being able to play back soundbites of Bush Jr speaking about the wonders of spreading democracy to the middle east, and using themself as proof that he was lying.



In the end, maybe the ultra-hawks here are right, and maybe Hamas will never change its spots and will continue to be nothing but a terror organiation. But if that is the case, let the world see that this is because that is the path they chose, when other paths were open as opposed to that being the path they chose because they had no choice.
moif
Vermillion, I don't think many here are actually disagreeing with you that it is necessary for the US to make an attempt to deal with Hamas. I think every one is holding their breath, but with scepticism.

Also, the IRA comparison might work well as you argue it but there are two rather obvious (glaringly obvious in my opinion) problems with it.

The first is the time scale. It took the British about 20 years to get from where Hamas is today to where the IRA is today.

The second is the influence of Islam. Northern Ireland, even at its worst never had the sort of atmosphere of intolerance and social aggression that eats away at Islamic communities, nor the constant economic and moral support of several rich nations just across the border.
psyclist
QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Jan 28 2006, 09:06 AM)
Ahhh...the comfort of knowing the spread of democracy spreads peace. What does this make Bush? 0 fer 2 so far?

Short term, this is a disaster. Long term, it's the best thing that could happen in the region. If I were Bush/Rice, I would tell Hamas to come to the peace table and effect a peaceful solution. And I would also tell them any acts of aggression are acts of war and will be treated as such. The Palestinian behavior will not end until a: their government changes their stance on the existence of Israel or b: they have been completely defeated in war. I just don't see any other effective solutions.

Israel has been dancing around this problem to appease the global community. Arafat would denounce violence in English, but support it in Arabic. The ploy has always been to blame out-of-control factions when it is clear that these elections vindicate the assumption that Israel's destruction is a mandate - not a nuisance.

Israel and it's allies (which include us) should tell Hamas forthwith - acts of aggression will not be tolerated and any acts not severely dealt with by the Palestinian government will be considered acts of war met with overwhelming force.

If it were me in charge, I'd turn the Palestinian areas into one huge parking lot. Nothing short of that will solve this problem. In my mind, the "peaceful people of the Palestinian territories" are not innocent bystanders any longer (along with being an oxymoron). They have spoken with one voice and should suffer the consequences of their actions. As previously stated, they have made a choice.

Now they will have to either live or die by it.
*



This is a fair statement to make as they're now a political party. However, you have to make the same one to Israel, they can't go around assasinating members of Hamas like they used to.
ConservPat
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?

No. What's going to happen now is Benjamin Netanyahu will be elected Prime Minister of Israel and Palestinians will be begging for Sharon. The Palestinian people have overwhelmingly said, "we support terrorism" and now there will be even less mercy for them...and unfortunately, rightfully so. The Palestinian people have responded to an Israeli government which has recently bent over backwards to make concessions by electing a terrorist group as its leader. I know I'm being repetative, but that's mainly because I need to repeat it so it sinks in for me. When I heard about this it was litterally unbelievable and I believe that this election will all but destroy any chance for peace in Israel anytime soon.

QUOTE
What must each side do to be successful?

Ideally: Come to a table and agree to continue Sharon's work of granting Palestinians a state of their own. In exchange, Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist and stop attacking it.

Realistically: Nothing.

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

I'm ignorant when it comes to the IRA so I won't embarass myself and pretend to know how to answer this question.

CP us.gif
Lesly
Iím trying to wrap my brain around the doom and gloom forecasts. Hamas' victory isn't encouraging news but it isn't terrible, either. One thing is certain. We hold the Palestinian people to a different standard when itís time to vote. We want them to give up self-interest for Israelís sake. And lest Palestinians assume the ridiculous political alchemy that supposes it is easier for hardliners to make concessions applies to them, that sort of reverse psychology is only fit to be employed by Western nations and nations aligned with Western interests.

A few excerpts from the NY Times article "In One Village, Anger and a Hunger for Change":

QUOTE(New York Times)
"What is the alternative?" asked Khaled Abu Khatah Barghouti, 36, a local director of social services for the Palestinian Authority. "The alternative is Hamas. The majority can't explain why they voted for Hamas," he said. "But if you sit with them they will say: 'We hate Fatah. They did nothing for us. A few poor people suddenly became rich people. Hamas worked in another way. They worked with society. They worked with the poor.'"

The interviews here seemed to belie suggestions that Palestinians did not really think through their vote for Hamas, that it was an angry and instinctive vote to punish Fatah.

"People, when they chose Hamas, they knew they would face many challenges," said Fadia Barghouti, 33, an English teacher whose husband is in an Israeli jail under suspicion of being a Hamas leader. "The return of the Israeli Army. Financial problems."

"But they elected Hamas," she said. "They respect Hamas. They hate Fatah. They want perhaps a real state. The Israeli Army left Gaza because of resistance, not because of agreements."

She added, though, that for real change, Hamas itself might have to change.

"Now they are not only a resistance group," she said. "They are the government. They should talk and be more realistic. This is a very heavy responsibility they have taken. But I think they will be able to do it."

QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Jan 28 2006, 09:06 AM)
And I would also tell them any acts of aggression are acts of war and will be treated as such. The Palestinian behavior will not end until a: their government changes their stance on the existence of Israel or b: they have been completely defeated in war. I just don't see any other effective solutions.
*

Nation-state warfare is a possibility anywhere in the world. However, you should know better than any conservative that the paradigm the world relied upon to avoid being invaded shifted. With the glaring exception of Saudi Arabia, containing violence is no longer sufficient to keep a foreign power out. This standard is no longer useful for determining outcomes and the onus doesn't necessarily rest on Hamas' shoulders. If Israel feels Hamas is not doing enough it can retaliate like it always did when Fatah had the leadership position. The standard for an area rife with strife will be cooperation through police action.

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?
It not only can, it must engage Hamas until Hamas gives it reason not to. Israel was not going to accept the legitimacy of the vote until the U.S. gave it a nudge.

What must each side do to be successful?
I think itís easier to determine what Hamas must do. It can continue talking tough for as long as it likes but it must take its new role seriously and not do anything to endanger the myriad hope and responsibility the Palestinians have entrusted it with.

I think Israel has responded with its heart, not its head. This is understandable given the dead bodies, damaged infrastructure, and crippling psychological effect suicide attacks reap. The shoe is on the other foot. Palestinians must have chokingly recalled the identically indiscriminate Sabra and Shatila massacres when Sharon was elected Prime Minister.
moif
QUOTE(Lesly)
Iím trying to wrap my brain around the doom and gloom forecasts. Hamas' victory isn't encouraging news but it isn't terrible, either. One thing is certain. We hold the Palestinian people to a different standard when itís time to vote. We want them to give up self-interest for Israelís sake. And lest Palestinians assume the ridiculous political alchemy that supposes it is easier for hardliners to make concessions applies to them, that sort of reverse psychology is only fit to be employed by Western nations and nations aligned with Western interests.
Well what do you expect? People, here and else where, keep talking about western double standards, that the USA is unwilling to accept the democratic choice of the Palestinian people... as if the implications of this election result was all somehow the fault of the west because it promotes democracy.

Sure the west, and in particular the USA prmotes democracy, but so what? that doesn't mean people can vote any one into power without regard to the implications of who they vote for.
Would the world sit idly by and welcome Germany voting for a new National Socialist Party?
People must bear the responsibility for their actions, even for their election results.

Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has promised to destroy Israel.

It doesn't matter what ever else they did, or how much charity work they've done, or what election promises they gave with regards to corruption. The bottom line is, Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has promised to destroy Israel and the people of Palestine knew that perfectly well and for what ever reason they voted for Hamas anyway.

And its not as if they didn't have any other options. There are clearly other parties involved:
QUOTE(BBC)
2006 ELECTION
Hamas - 76 seats. Fatah - 43 seats. PFLP - 3 seats. Badil - 2 seats.  Independent Palestine - 2 seats. Third Way - 2 seats. Independent/other - 4.
Link.

...so why is there all this talk of no other options. That this was always a choice between the corruption of Fatah or the Saudi/Iranian/extremist backed Hamas?

Are we to accept without question that for the Palestinians, there are no sensible options? that all they can muster is a choice between extremism and corruption?

These are human beings we are talking about. They are not simple minded, or children or ignorant savages. They adults, capable of making rational decisions and of taking responsibility for those decisions. We don't have to make excuses for them, or explain away their actions by shifting the blame else where. No else is responsible for the people of Palestine, but the people of Palestine.


QUOTE(Lesly)
It not only can, it must engage Hamas until Hamas gives it reason not to. Israel was not going to accept the legitimacy of the vote until the U.S. gave it a nudge.
Must?

Where does this 'must' come from?

Since when is the USA, or any other nation obliged to negotiate? The responsibility is on Hamas to make the first move. Not Israel. Not the USA. Not even the UN.

Hamas must clearly, and without conditions, demonstrate its peaceful intentions first and it must make the first movement towards peace.

Lets not kid ourselves about who or what Hamas is. It is first and foremost a terrorist organisation created with the purpose of destroying Israel and every single Palestinian knows this perfectly well. All this talk of charity work in the community, of doctors and lawyers and stuff is all very well, but until Hamas demonstrates otherwise then its just window dressing. Like icing on a cake.

Titus

Moif, I think you, as well as the rest of the West should think about the idea that these people weren't all voting on the platform of Israel's destruction.

There's a good chance Mohammed Q. Public wasn't goin to the polls thinkin "I may be unemployed, and my family lives without and health care, but I'm gonna vote for the guys who are gonna wipe Israel off the map."

Sorry, that's just not bloodly likely.

QUOTE
Moif

Are we to accept without question that for the Palestinians, there are no sensible options? that all they can muster is a choice between extremism and corruption?


Well, what did we have in American in 2004? We had the choice of either an inept cowboy or an inept elitest. What did the Palestinians have to choose from that was better than Hamas?
Lesly
QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
Well what do you expect? People, here and else where, keep talking about western double standards, that the USA is unwilling to accept the democratic choice of the Palestinian people... as if the implications of this election result was all somehow the fault of the West because it promotes democracy.
*

With such an important election at a minimum I expect people to understand there is a possibility that the result may not be what they hoped for and why that possibility exists. As for the West, the U.S. to be exact, Iíve read mixed reviews. Honestly, what choice does Bush have? He can no more write Hamas off than he can write Iraq off for its slow regression with the installment of Sharia law in their constitution.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
Would the world sit idly by and welcome Germany voting for a new National Socialist Party? People must bear the responsibility for their actions, even for their election results. 
*

Are you suggesting the German public had a fortune-telling crystal ball that telling them about Auschwitz, but they decided to let it go anyway?

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
It doesn't matter what ever else they did, or how much charity work they've done, or what election promises they gave with regards to corruption. The bottom line is, Hamas is a terrorist organization which has promised to destroy Israel and the people of Palestine knew that perfectly well and for what ever reason they voted for Hamas anyway.
*

Iím not saying that Hamasí charity redeems their terrorist wing, Moif. Iím asking, why the dismay that Palestinian voters didnít turn out to be the altruistic idiots some appear to have hoped for?

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
And its not as if they didn't have any other options. There are clearly other parties involved: [Ö] ..so why is there all this talk of no other options. That this was always a choice between the corruption of Fatah or the Saudi/Iranian/extremist backed Hamas?

These are human beings we are talking about. They are not simple minded, or children or ignorant savages. They adults, capable of making rational decisions and of taking responsibility for those decisions. We don't have to make excuses for them, or explain away their actions by shifting the blame else where. No else is responsible for the people of Palestine, but the people of Palestine.
*

We have choices in the U.S. too. So far millions of Americans have done an excellent job of ignoring third party candidates for 230 years. Once in a while third party/independent candidates are elected as long as they manage not to squirm too much while they play at being a Democrat or a Republican. All politics being local, calling U.S. voters stupid or choose-an-adjective doesnít cover the subject. Your attempt to paint the Palestiniansí choice as proof of their single-minded desire for the destruction of Israel falls short of an explanation as well.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
Must? Where does this 'must' come from?
*

The must comes from the fact that you canít simply do your thing on the international front and pretend nothing happened when events donít unfold to your liking. It is the only reason why I support a U.S. presence in Iraq. We canít simply leave the Iraqi people to the mercy of an unstable nation after invading it. Likewise, we canít let Israel sort it out after urging them to accept the elections or send the unmistakable message to the Mid East that the only results the U.S. acknowledges are results that compliment her interests.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 28 2006, 07:11 PM)
Hamas must clearly, and without conditions, demonstrate its peaceful intentions first and it must make the first movement towards peace.
*

No arguments here. My only question is will they demand the map be redrawn to 1967 and would Israel concede.
Blackstone
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?

That depends entirely on Hamas.

What must each side do to be successful?

I'm not about to give advice to Hamas on how to be "sucessful", because "success" to them means something different from what it means to most civilized people. As for Israel, my recommendation would be for them to wait until a Hamas government officially convenes, and then ask them to give a formal answer to the question of whether or not they think Israel has a right to exist. And if the answer is no, or if no answer is given within 24 hours, Israel should declare the Oslo Accords null and void, and proceed accordingly.

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

I don't think the comparison is valid. The level of hatred isn't the same at all, nor is the level of intolerance for dissenting views. Even the "moderate" Fatah faction has shown very little tolerance for those it regards as "collaborators", meaning anyone who seems too willing to make peace with Israel. Things certainly don't look like they're going to get better under Hamas.

QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 28 2006, 09:12 PM)
Moif, I think you, as well as the rest of the West should think about the idea that these people weren't all voting on the platform of Israel's destruction.

There's a good chance Mohammed Q. Public wasn't goin to the polls thinkin "I may be unemployed, and my family lives without and health care, but I'm gonna vote for the guys who are gonna wipe Israel off the map."
*

Except that's not what he said, Titus. Read it over again:

"The bottom line is, Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has promised to destroy Israel and the people of Palestine knew that perfectly well and for what ever reason they voted for Hamas anyway." (emphasis added)

In other words, the fact that it wasn't their reason for voting for Hamas doesn't mean they could plead ignorance about its stance towards Israel. And I completely agree with Moif that democracy doesn't mean the people shouldn't have to face the consequences of how they vote. Indeed, democracy can't truly be democracy without a concept of consequences for how one votes.
Titus
QUOTE
Blackstone

QUOTE
(Titus @ Jan 28 2006, 09:12 PM)
Moif, I think you, as well as the rest of the West should think about the idea that these people weren't all voting on the platform of Israel's destruction.

There's a good chance Mohammed Q. Public wasn't goin to the polls thinkin "I may be unemployed, and my family lives without and health care, but I'm gonna vote for the guys who are gonna wipe Israel off the map."



Except that's not what he said, Titus. Read it over again:

"The bottom line is, Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has promised to destroy Israel and the people of Palestine knew that perfectly well and for what ever reason they voted for Hamas anyway." (emphasis added)




Blackstone, he's saying that, at best, the Palestinians elected Hamas and did not care about their terrorist acts or, at worst, elected them in part on that basis.


Take a prior comment of Moif's...

QUOTE
Moif

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.


...It looks like "for what ever reason" is another way of saying "waging war on Israel, without saying it.

QUOTE
Blackstone

I'm not about to give advice to Hamas on how to be "sucessful", because "success" to them means something different from what it means to most civilized people. As for Israel, my recommendation would be for them to wait until a Hamas government officially convenes, and then ask them to give a formal answer to the question of whether or not they think Israel has a right to exist. And if the answer is no, or if no answer is given within 24 hours, Israel should declare the Oslo Accords null and void, and proceed accordingly.


So the West can deal with Fatah, but not Hamas? Fatah has armed paramilitary wings as well. Maybe you've heard of one called the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? They've stated openly that they support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment on "wiping Israel from the map". They've also, in the same document, stated:

QUOTE
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

"We stress our support of the Iranian president's position toward the fictitious Zionist state, which will disappear with the help of Allah."


and...

QUOTE
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

The acknowledgement of the State of Israel, the state that was established on Palestinian land, constitutes contempt of the Palestinian people, who sacrifice their blood every day for the sake of freeing Palestine and Jerusalem."


And just in case anyone has any doubts to the connection between Fatah and Al-Aqsa:

QUOTE
Ahmed Qorei, PA Prime Minister
"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, military wing of the Fateh movement will not be
dissolved and Fatah will never relinquish its military wing."
[PA official PA website, June 21, 2004]


I can also cite instances of joint acts of violence with Hamas.

Now I'm not saying we should let bygones be bygones with either Hamas or Fatah, but to explicitly say that we will not talk with one while we have talked with the other is hypocritical and dangerous.

I've stated that we should tie any support for Hamas and their efforts to, through legitimate and democratic means, better the lives of Palestinians with the actions of their militant wing, but throwing hypocritical ultimatums their way before they've even formed a government is insane.
Blackstone
QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 28 2006, 11:00 PM)
Blackstone,  he's saying that, at best, the Palestinians elected Hamas and did not care about their terrorist acts or, at worst, elected them in part on that basis.

And you disagree with that general assessment? Do you think the voters were ignorant of Hamas's activities? If not, then indeed they either didn't care, or actively supported it. There aren't too many other possibilities.

QUOTE
So the West can deal with Fatah, but not Hamas? Fatah has armed paramilitary wings as well. Maybe you've heard of one called the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? They've stated openly that they support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment on "wiping Israel from the map".
*

Thank you, I'm glad you brought that up. It goes to show just how inaccurate and misleading a lot of the news coverage is on Palestinian politics. Fatah was able to get as far as it has thanks in large part to that one-sided coverage portraying them as "moderates", and so now we're asked to swallow an even bigger pill. Fatah at least was willng to say publicly that it recognized Israel's right to exist. Hamas shows no such signs.

But the fact that we were duped into playing along with Fatah's make-believe game doesn't mean we have any obligation to let ourselves be duped even further. Instead, it's time to wake up to the reality of the situation there, and do away with the folly on our part that has allowed it to continue and worsen.
DaytonRocker
QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 28 2006, 09:12 PM)
There's a good chance Mohammed Q. Public wasn't goin to the polls thinkin "I may be unemployed, and my family lives without and health care, but I'm gonna vote for the guys who are gonna wipe Israel off the map."

Sorry, that's just not bloodly likely.

Not likely? How about probable?

The premise that the Pals didn't give much thought to the platform of destroying Israel is absurd. The Palestinians are indoctrinated with hatred of Jews. They are bred to hate Jews more than love life and prepare to die killing them at a very young age. It doesn't matter what Israel does because in the Palestinian eyes, they don't deserve to live. Israel is not even shown in schoolbooks.

The Pals voted much like the polls that have reflected their support for terrorism. This choice was clear.
Trouble
QUOTE(Titus)
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 "weather" would be the more correct term Titus. Right now the Lukid party is being challenged on their hard lined stance from Sharon's new party Kadima. If Israel is divided on how to respond to Hamas then I expect the US to follow suit. Juan Cole recently wrote a well-penned article on the Hamas election.

QUOTE
What must each side do to be successful?

Getting both sides in the same room and locking the doors until one is forced to talk to the other! tongue.gif


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


Yes, but I think the rest of the world will have to convince the two to engage each other because it is in their own self interest. I think ten years from now alot of people will look back and see a lost opportunity to make peace when the Fatah party was in power.
Titus

QUOTE
Blackstone

And you disagree with that general assessment? Do you think the voters were ignorant of Hamas's activities? If not, then indeed they either didn't care, or actively supported it. There aren't too many other possibilities.


Well, I think my frustration with that scenario is based, in part, on the idea that if they did brush aside the fact that Hamas is a terror group, that it was out of malice. I think if there is a disregard, it's because Palestinians are too busy wondering if they're gonna find work. I think it's because they're more concerned about gettin their kids proper medical care rather than what some other jerk with a TNT vest does.

One common trait that transcends cultures is the idea that a man lookouts for numero uno. He looks out for he and his. If that means choosing between a terror group that's run the country into the ground, and a terror group that provides social programs, they're gonna choose what benefits them.

To fault them for it is another hypocritical position.

QUOTE
DaytonRocker

The premise that the Pals didn't give much thought to the platform of destroying Israel is absurd. The Palestinians are indoctrinated with hatred of Jews. They are bred to hate Jews more than love life and prepare to die killing them at a very young age. It doesn't matter what Israel does because in the Palestinian eyes, they don't deserve to live. Israel is not even shown in schoolbooks.

The Pals voted much like the polls that have reflected their support for terrorism. This choice was clear.


Yes, all Palestinians are bred to hate Jews. blink.gif

Now, far be it for me to ever agree with Vermillion, lol, but I believe there's a statistic he used (supported here) that showed a massive drop in support for suicide bombings. How does that support:

QUOTE
The Pals voted much like the polls that have reflected their support for terrorism. This choice was clear.
?

Now don't get me wrong, there are more than the fair share of militant psychos in the West Bank, but I believe that you're assertion that all of them are more concerned with the deaths of innocent Israelis than they're own welfare is not based in reality.

QUOTE
Blackstone

But the fact that we were duped into playing along with Fatah's make-believe game doesn't mean we have any obligation to let ourselves be duped even further. Instead, it's time to wake up to the reality of the situation there, and do away with the folly on our part that has allowed it to continue and worsen.


We were duped? blink.gif I dunno, you'd think all the Israeli airstrikes, helo-attacks, and surrounding Arafat's compound for ages would tip us off? blush.gif

And what's even better is that you appear to suggest to face reality by walking away from the table altogether. The reality is we have no choice but to deal with Hamas when it comes to brokering peace. Are we to just turn our noses and walk out of the room?
moif
QUOTE(Titus)
Moif, I think you, as well as the rest of the West should think about the idea that these people weren't all voting on the platform of Israel's destruction.
Then why, pray tell, did they vote for a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel?

I'll tell you why. Because Hamas is very well funded, pervades and dominates Palestinian society and has extensive hearts and minds operations in order to consolidate its base of support. Hamas is the perfect reflection of the Palestinian mentality today.

The Palestinians do not want peace.

They want peace and the destruction of Israel.


QUOTE(Titus)
There's a good chance Mohammed Q. Public wasn't goin to the polls thinkin "I may be unemployed, and my family lives without and health care, but I'm gonna vote for the guys who are gonna wipe Israel off the map."

Sorry, that's just not bloodly likely.
Why not? What actually separates Hamas from the other Palestinian parties?

QUOTE
Alternative List: Headed by a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Qais Karim Khadir. The list is a coalition of the DFLP, the Palestinian People's Party, The Palestinian Democratic Union and various independents. The Alternative List puts forward a platform of social issue reform.

Wa'ad List: Similar to the Alternative List, the Wa'ad is a social reform party. It is also known as the National Coalition for Justice and Democracy. The list is headed by Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj.† El-Sarraj was a consultant to the Palestinian delegation to the Camp David 2000 Summit. The Wa'ad list's main political platform is the establishment of the rule of law, promotion of human rights, security reforms and an agenda of civil reforms.

Third Way List: aims at putting forward an alternative agenda to that of Fatah and Hamas. The list is headed by the former Palestinian Finance Minister, Dr. Salam Fayyad and former PA Minister of Higher Education and Research Hanan Ashrawi. The platform focuses on socio-economic progress, democratic improvements and a reform of the security forces.

Independent Palestine List: The left-wing Independent Palestine list is headed by Mustafa Barghouti, who came in second in the 2005 Palestinian Presidential election. The main component of this list is the Palestinian National Initiative. The list's platforms aim to fight corruption and nepotism, push for the dismantling of the security barrier, and support the emergence of a truly democratic and independent third way party of the unrepresented Palestinian voters.
Link.

There are at least five other parties beyond these, all providing an alternative to Hamas or Fatah....

Now, just what exactly separates Hamas from the four examples provided... ?

Well first of all, none of them are headed by someone like Mahmoud Zahar:
QUOTE(Telegraph)
"We are not going to recognise Israel," he said, putting paid to suggestions that Hamas may alter its 1988 charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. But he added: "We can reach out to them with a long-term hudna (truce)."

He then called on the world to recognise Hamas.
Link.
That comment was reported 16 hours ago.

Also, as far as I can tell, none of the four examples provided are terrorist groups funded by extremists in Saudi Arabia and Iran. They appear, to me, to be bona fide democratic political parties. All formed by experienced politicians. All dedicated to democratic reform, getting rid of corruption and dialogue with Israel with the intention of working towards peace. Not one of them got more than 4 seats.


QUOTE(Titus)
Well, what did we have in American in 2004? We had the choice of either an inept cowboy or an inept elitest. What did the Palestinians have to choose from that was better than Hamas?
See above.

Palestine is not the USA. The comparison, whilst underlying how bad the US election system is, does not hold water because neither the Republican or the Democratic parties are regarded as terrorist organizations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


QUOTE(Lesly)
Are you suggesting the German public had a fortune-telling crystal ball that telling them about Auschwitz, but they decided to let it go anyway?
Did I write that?


QUOTE(Lesly)
Iím not saying that Hamasí charity redeems their terrorist wing, Moif. Iím asking, why the dismay that Palestinian voters didnít turn out to be the altruistic idiots some appear to have hoped for?
Thats fair enough, but what I want to know then is why do you consider any other vote to be altruistic idiocy?


QUOTE(Lesly)
We have choices in the U.S. too. So far millions of Americans have done an excellent job of ignoring third party candidates for 230 years. Once in a while third party/independent candidates are elected as long as they manage not to squirm too much while they play at being a Democrat or a Republican. All politics being local, calling U.S. voters stupid or choose-an-adjective doesnít cover the subject. Your attempt to paint the Palestiniansí choice as proof of their single-minded desire for the destruction of Israel falls short of an explanation as well.
I don't think I need to explain anything Lesly. The election results speak for themselves.

The people of Palestine did not vote for any of the political parties on offer. Instead they voted for an extremist Islamic terrorist organization which shows no wish to negotiate for peace.


QUOTE(Lesly)
The must comes from the fact that you canít simply do your thing on the international front and pretend nothing happened when events donít unfold to your liking. It is the only reason why I support a U.S. presence in Iraq. We canít simply leave the Iraqi people to the mercy of an unstable nation after invading it. Likewise, we canít let Israel sort it out after urging them to accept the elections or send the unmistakable message to the Mid East that the only results the U.S. acknowledges are results that compliment her interests.
What you seem to have missed Lesly is that the USA has not simply turned its back on the Palestinians or the Iraqi's or democracy or the peace process.

What has happened here is a large majority of the people of Palestine have turned their back on Israel, the peace process and on the USA.

Just because they did so democratically doesn't change that fact.



edited to fix formatting
Lesly
QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
Also, as far as I can tell, none of the four examples provided are terrorist groups funded by extremists in Saudi Arabia and Iran. They appear, to me, to be bona fide democratic political parties. All formed by experienced politicians. All dedicated to democratic reform, getting rid of corruption and dialogue with Israel with the intention of working towards peace. Not one of them got more than 4 seats.
*

Interesting you should bring those other groups up, Moif. Titus demonstrated Fatah has terrorist ties. And yet, assuming the U.S. was aware of the moderate to liberal alternative parties in the running, why did she fund Fatahís campaign instead of the parties you listed?

QUOTE(Washington Post)
The Bush administration is spending foreign aid money to increase the popularity of the Palestinian Authority on the eve of crucial elections in which the governing party faces a serious challenge from the radical Islamic group Hamas.

The approximately $2 million program is being led by a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development. But no U.S. government logos appear with the projects or events being undertaken as part of the campaign, which bears no evidence of U.S. involvement and does not fall within the definitions of traditional development work.

Internal documents outlining the program describe the effort as "a temporary paradigm shift" in the way the aid agency operates. The plan was designed with the help of a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer who worked in postwar Afghanistan on democracy-building projects.

Is it perhaps because the U.S., understanding the alternatives had a snowballís chance in hell of getting majority status, dispensed with idealism and threw its support behind the lesser of two evils by playing a game of public services catch-up with Hamas?

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly)
Are you suggesting the German public had a fortune-telling crystal ball that telling them about Auschwitz, but they decided to let it go anyway?

Did I write that?
*

Why donít you tell me what Iím supposed to take away by your comparison between Germans electing another National Socialist Party and Hamas winning a majority of seats for the first time.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly)
Iím not saying that Hamasí charity redeems their terrorist wing, Moif. Iím asking, why the dismay that Palestinian voters didnít turn out to be the altruistic idiots some appear to have hoped for?

Thatís fair enough, but what I want to know then is why do you consider any other vote to be altruistic idiocy?
*

I donít necessarily consider a vote for Fatah altruistic. In fact, I would expect those who have benefit from Fatahís political connections to vote for Fatah. But Iím not the one associating a vote for Fatah to mean a vote for peace, or a vote for Hamas to mean a vote for war. The only way I can interpret the campaign results in such stark terms is by looking at it strictly from Israelís point of view, and that does neither side any favors.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
I don't think I need to explain anything Lesly. The election results speak for themselves.
*

Where have I heard such a simplistic justification before? Oh, thatís right. I donít need inspectors to explain anything, Saddamís belligerence speaks for itself. Thatís your prerogative, Moif.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
Instead they voted for an extremist Islamic terrorist organization which shows no wish to negotiate for peace.
*

Perhaps. Perhaps not. The fact that the U.S. decided to help Fatah with outreach programs shows me those people are more interested in immediate needs than war and peace with Israel.

QUOTE(moif @ Jan 29 2006, 12:21 PM)
What has happened here is a large majority of the people of Palestine have turned their back on Israel, the peace process and on the USA. Just because they did so democratically doesn't change that fact.
*

Yeah. How terrible of those Palestinians to put their own self-interests ahead of Israelís, the United Statesí, and the rest of the world. Someone needs to inform those ungrateful people that theyíre the only ones on the planet who canít flip the bird at the rest of the world when they go to the polls.

I'm not saying some of those who voted for Hamas don't want a bigger fight, but as for the rest that contributed to Hamas' majority status, is it that surprising that Palestinians are more interested in a pseudo-welfare state looking after their immediate needs?
bucket
Wow moif thanx for all the links and such.


I agree that Hamas' support or funding is fairly broad. I think trying to put an end to this would be like trying to stop the flow of water. I have even read that Israel herself has been funding Hamas in an attempt to disrupt or divide the PLO, looks like they were successful.

My point tho. regarding Hamas funding is not necessarily what or who specifically funds them but that Hamas is not an independent operation and has more than just the Palestinian people to appeal to or make happy. So what will happen? Will she continue with this sort of financed arms for hire route? Or will she realize that in order to be in true power she must fund and operate more independently and self sufficiently?

As my six year old told me today... "You are not my puppet master". No body likes to have a puppet master.

QUOTE(Lesly)
We hold the Palestinian people to a different standard when itís time to vote. We want them to give up self-interest for Israelís sake. And lest Palestinians assume the ridiculous political alchemy that supposes it is easier for hardliners to make concessions applies to them, that sort of reverse psychology is only fit to be employed by Western nations and nations aligned with Western interests.


I don't agree with this at all, I happen to believe in the standard of universal human rights. I think the problem is we hold the Palestinian people to the same standard and that is where the conflict begins. They seem to feel they have some deep religious obligation of resistance and are not obliged by the standard of accepting and viewing Israel as a legitimate nation. And if any lowering of standard is being made it is most often made in favor of the Palestinian people not as you claim against their own self interests. I think you should look to the elections in the west such as Austria's election of Haider or France's run off election of Le Pen and then tell us all again how the west only applies these standards upon the Palestinians...explain to us why we should have been accepting of these democratic "self interests" of the nation-states of Austria and France...do you feel the condemnation and pressure to reject these political outcomes on our parts was also "ridiculous" ?





What I think many here neglect to consider in evaluating this situation is that to many Palestinians social justice is nothing unless their true struggle or objective is achieved. They have for years been told that they all must suffer, even suffer death, for the struggle of defeating Israel. To try and view this event and the political ideals of this nation absent of it's largest, most prominent and recognized cause is to avoid a really big piece of the picture. Surely not the entirety of it..but the focal point.

Sure the Palestinians have chosen Hamas for her social generosity, I can accept that argument but nations and individuals around the world have chosen to afford Hamas this means to be generous because of Hamas' fight against Israel. They are intertwined and you can not effectively discuss their power or appeal without recognizing that their objective to destroy Israel has a lot of appeal to many.


moif
QUOTE(Lesly)
Interesting you should bring those other groups up, Moif. Titus demonstrated Fatah has terrorist ties. And yet, assuming the U.S. was aware of the moderate to liberal alternative parties in the running, why did she fund Fatah's campiagn instead of the parties you listed?
Why are you asking me? I never listed Fatah among the other choices available.

I don't care if the Palestinians don't want to vote for Fatah. I'm not peddling Fatah's virtues.

I can only assume that the USA will deal with terrorists, if only those terrorists have a mandate from the people and have renounced their terrorist intentions.


QUOTE(Lesly)
Is it perhaps because the U.S., understanding the alternatives had a snowballís chance in hell of getting majority status, dispensed with idealism and threw its support behind the lesser of two evils by playing a game of public services catch-up with Hamas?
Yup. Looks like that to me too.


QUOTE(Lesly)
Why donít you tell me what Iím supposed to take away by your comparison between Germans electing another National Socialist Party and Hamas winning a majority of seats for the first time.
Nothing, for there is no such comparison... I asked if the world would sit idly by and watch another nazi party come to power. I don't think it would.

The point being there are some groups and ideologies that are just not acceptable and merit no reciprocation.
I don't automatically include Hamas in this catagory. I would advoate the rest of the world waits to see what Hamas's first move will be. Whether or not they will recognise Israel, or as their leader has already suggested, they will stick to their principle of destroying Israel.


QUOTE(Lesly)
I donít necessarily consider a vote for Fatah altruistic. In fact, I would expect those who have benefit from Fatahís political connections to vote for Fatah. But Iím not the one associating a vote for Fatah to mean a vote for peace, or a vote for Hamas to mean a vote for war. The only way I can interpret the campaign results in such stark terms is by looking at it strictly from Israelís point of view, and that does neither side any favors.
I hope your not trying to portray me as having said I believe 'a vote for Fatah to mean a vote for peace, or a vote for Hamas to mean a vote for war'. For I have not made this claim.

Nor am I looking at this from a 'pro Israeli perspective'. I'm bound to look upon this, as all other matters from the heights and depths of my own perceptions.


QUOTE(Lesly)
Where have I heard such a simplistic justification before? Oh, thatís right. I donít need inspectors to explain anything, Saddamís belligerence speaks for itself. Thatís your prerogative, Moif.
My prerogative it may be, but those aren't my words Lesly. Those are yours.

You can put any spin on the election results you wish to, but your position is no less simplistic than mine. The Palestinians have voted and their election results speaks for itself. The Palestinians have put a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel into power.

The failure to recognise or understand the implications of this indicates you don't want to accept it for what it is. The idea that Hamas has something more to offer the Palestinians because it runs pseudo welfare systems for those it considers needy ignores, utterly, the basis for Hamas's entire existence.


QUOTE(Lesly)
Yeah. How terrible of those Palestinians to put their own self-interests ahead of Israelís, the United Statesí, and the rest of the world. Someone needs to inform those ungrateful people that theyíre the only ones on the planet who canít flip the bird at the rest of the world when they go to the polls.
Well I wouldn't put it quite like that, but yeah.

If you vote for terrorists, even if they're nice to you, then you can't expect a great deal of sympathy from the rest of the world.

Also, I don't agree at all that the Palestinians have voted in their own self interest here. Ignoring legitimate political parties in order to vote for a terrorist faction is not voting in your own best interests.


QUOTE(Lesly)
I'm not saying some of those who voted for Hamas don't want a bigger fight, but as for the rest that contributed to Hamas' majority status, is it that surprising that Palestinians are more interested in a pseudo-welfare state looking after their immediate needs?
And I'm not saying that every one in Hamas is a cold blooded murderer...

I'm just saying that if you hang out with people you know are cold blooded murderers, support them, approve of them, idolize them and vote for them, then don't be complaining when some one drops a five hundred pound bomb on you.


lordhelmet
QUOTE(bucket @ Jan 29 2006, 02:40 PM)

snip

 
What I think many here neglect to consider in evaluating this situation is that to many Palestinians social justice is nothing unless their true struggle or objective is achieved.  They have for years been told that they all must suffer, even suffer death, for the struggle of defeating Israel.  To try and view this event and the political ideals of this nation absent of it's largest, most prominent and recognized cause is to avoid a really big piece of the picture.  Surely not the entirety of it..but the focal point.
 
Sure the Palestinians have chosen Hamas for her social generosity, I can accept that argument but nations and individuals around the world have chosen to afford Hamas this means to be generous because of Hamas'  fight against Israel.  They are intertwined and you can not effectively discuss their power or appeal without recognizing that their objective to destroy Israel has a lot of appeal to many.
*



Yes, that exactly was their appeal. You are exactly right as to the underlying reasons behind the victory of Hamas. The same mentality shown by the people who cheered when Bin Laden attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 innocents are the ones who elected Hamas.

Why? Because terror has "worked" in their minds. Israel is retreating from the settlements and continues to give up land. Why turn back a winning strategy? The more suicide bomb vests explode, the more Israel caves and the more Europe and liberals in the US clamor for Israel to give up even more in the interests of "peace" (not to mention the calls for cut-and-run in Iraq from the same people for the same reasons).

The thing about free elections, and freedom in general, is that people have the freedom to make stupid choices. The Palestinians clearly have here. They have chosen, as their official representatives, terrorists who promise both the destruction of the state of Israel and the return to an ancient religion that offers nothing in the form of western style "individual" rights.

I hate to sound pessimistic, but the Palestinians committed national suicide with their choice. Not only have they defeated any real chance to form their own independent state, but they have likely moved very, very close to an all-out war with Israel which will see them suffer severely. The likely next leader of Israel is Netanyahu and that guy will not fool around with Hamas. The first attack, since it has now come from a "state", not a group of insurgents, will result in crushing attacks on the entire leadership of the Palestinians.

And who will step in? I suspect Iran. And if Israel suspects that they've already built the bomb they keep bragging about, an Israeli nuclear device could be deployed to take out Tehran before they launch on Israel.

I'm a Bush supporter and believe he did the right thing, given the available information, intelligence, and analysis with respect to Iraq. Our country just can't afford to sit back and allow nations like Iraq to flaunt cease fire agreements, UN resolutions, and even attempt to kill one of our ex-presidents. But, I must admit that the one aspect of Bush that I feel most uncomfortable of is his idealism. Bush is not a fascist as some on the fringe left claim. Instead, he's an "idealist". A person who really believes in the human heart, human nature, and the power of good if given the chance to flourish.

I'm more cynical. We're dealing with an ancient mind-set here that is taught to children the day that they are old enough to understand. That mentality has counteracted, and will counteract, any "natural" tendency toward good.

I also believe that these fights simmer for decades because they are unresolved. There will be no peace in the middle east until one side or the other prevails. What we, as free western societies have to ask ourselves is which side should prevail as far as our interests are concerned?

The side that wants to return to a 7th century-style totalitarian world or the side that has represented freedom, democracy, and a modern economy and society?
psyclist
QUOTE(bucket @ Jan 29 2006, 02:40 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly)
We hold the Palestinian people to a different standard when itís time to vote. We want them to give up self-interest for Israelís sake. And lest Palestinians assume the ridiculous political alchemy that supposes it is easier for hardliners to make concessions applies to them, that sort of reverse psychology is only fit to be employed by Western nations and nations aligned with Western interests.


I don't agree with this at all, I happen to believe in the standard of universal human rights. I think the problem is we hold the Palestinian people to the same standard and that is where the conflict begins. They seem to feel they have some deep religious obligation of resistance and are not obliged by the standard of accepting and viewing Israel as a legitimate nation. And if any lowering of standard is being made it is most often made in favor of the Palestinian people not as you claim against their own self interests. I think you should look to the elections in the west such as Austria's election of Haider or France's run off election of Le Pen and then tell us all again how the west only applies these standards upon the Palestinians...explain to us why we should have been accepting of these democratic "self interests" of the nation-states of Austria and France...do you feel the condemnation and pressure to reject these political outcomes on our parts was also "ridiculous" ?


Let's see, who else has a deep religious convictions that they use to justify the occupation of land... hmmm.gif

If you believe in this standard of universal human rights, then why don't you apply those same rights to the Palestinian people? Don't they have human rights? Should the Israeli's be allowed to build a wall that is in violation of UN resolutions and International humanitarian law and causes the loss of jobs, movement, and livelyhood? Should a major source of income, olive trees, be torn from their roots? Should Palestinians water be taken away or under the control of an occupying power? It's water! The most important aspect of a country's domestic, industrial, and agricultural needs. Should IOF/IDF forces be allowed to kill women and children through excessive force, enter houses at will, enforce curfews and jail Palestinians at will?

Please, if there is anyone we need to start holding accountable for violating univeral human rights, it's Israel.

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edited to remove inflamitory statement.
Titus

QUOTE
Moif

QUOTE
(Lesly)
Interesting you should bring those other groups up, Moif. Titus demonstrated Fatah has terrorist ties. And yet, assuming the U.S. was aware of the moderate to liberal alternative parties in the running, why did she fund Fatah's campiagn instead of the parties you listed?


Why are you asking me? I never listed Fatah among the other choices available.

I don't care if the Palestinians don't want to vote for Fatah. I'm not peddling Fatah's virtues.


I think she's pointing out that campaigns need money to be successfull, and since the US chose to support another terror group instead of a small, unknown independent party, what do you expect?

Hamas has money. Hamas can provide. I don't think any of the alternatives you listed can do what Hamas has.

In other words, the road to Ramallah is paved with good intentions. It'd be nice if these small groups could provide social programs as well as Hamas, but they don't, and ideas don't put bread on the table. Intentions don't vaccinate children. Promises don't give them shoes.

moif
QUOTE(Titus)
I think she's pointing out that campaigns need money to be successfull, and since the US chose to support another terror group instead of a small, unknown independent party, what do you expect?

Hamas has money. Hamas can provide. I don't think any of the alternatives you listed can do what Hamas has.

In other words, the road to Ramallah is paved with good intentions. It'd be nice if these small groups could provide social programs as well as Hamas, but they don't, and ideas don't put bread on the table. Intentions don't vaccinate children. Promises don't give them shoes.
But apparently democracy is about who has the best funding?

Well, I suppose that is a very American way of looking at it...

Where I'm from though, people vote according to their political beliefs and forgive me if I am being obtuse, but I have always assumed that the people of Palestine were at least intelligent enough to understand that funding is available from a wide range of international sources....

but of course, you're probably right, it's all about us again. Those poor Palestinians can't do anything by themselves... unsure.gif

Vermillion
QUOTE(moif @ Jan 30 2006, 12:24 AM)
but of course, you're probably right, it's all about us again. Those poor Palestinians can't do anything by themselves...  unsure.gif


In American elections, UK elections, French Elections and Canadian elections (and probably other I can't find studies on) it has been proven time and time again that while foreign policy makes great headlines, people make their decisions to vote on issues closest to home. Economy, education, the next paycheck, the next meal, the next visit to the hospital, and so on.

I love how some people here choose to presume that the exact opposite is the case with Palestine, with no basis whatsoever. By verbaly diminishing the activities of Hamas within palestibe by calling them 'a couple of soup kitchens', or 'some first aid clinic', you entirely miss what is far and away the most likely cause behind the election victory.

For 15 years if a young person was educated in Palestine, there is a good chance it is because of hamas. If someone received medical care, there is a good chance it was from Hamas. If someone lost their family to an Israeli rocket, relief for the survivors was provided 100% from Hamas.

No, of COURSE this does not excuse their terrorist activities, or the estimated 350 people Hamas has been directly responsible for killing with terror attacks, but that is not my point.

My point is to try an explain that maybe, just MAYBE this was not a vote of national suicide by the Palestinians, maybe, just MAYBE the entire Palestinian population are not idiots as some of you would make them out to be. Maybe the decision, just like elections in the rest of the world, was based on local close to home issues. Fatah was corrupt and associated with terrorists, it took huge amounts of money from international donors like the US and where did they spend it?

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_...lestinian%20Aut

http://cfrterrorism.org/havens/palestine_print.html

This quote is from a report issued BEFORE the elections:
"Independent observers and international donors have repeatedly criticized the authority for a series of bribery, patronage, and cash-skimming episodes. Experts say that many PA institutions are not so much corrupt as inefficient, which has given Hamas a chance to fill in the gap by providing social services and thereby win significant popular support."


Almost all the International Aid was being spent on security forces and salaries, with each salary having an automatic 2% kickback to the Fatah party. This is not corruption, it is outright theft. Fatah supported terrorism and the famous 'Martys brigade'.

In the meantime, Hamas, another terrorist organisation, was feeding the Palestinians, educating them, healing them and supporting families of those killed by Israelis.


So many people here rant on and on about the stupid choice by the Palestinians, the foolish choice, the choice that proves they want war, the choice that proves they want death...

In fact they had the choice between TWO terrorist organisations.

One was backed by the US, including 2 million dollars of money spent DIRECTLY by the US campaigning for Fatah in the days before the election, and was renowned for corruption, theft, graft and lining their own pockets at the expense of the Palestinians.

The other ran social services throughout Palestine taking care of its people.


Do you really think that the fact that one terrorist group the US liked, and the other one the US didn't like would sway the vote? Fatah was better at concealing their terrorist activities I suppose, though not very well.

The Palestinians made what I can see as the ONLY choice available to them. Now it is up to Hamas to decide what to do with their power. The West needs to give them the chance to do the right thing, no matter how many people suspect (possibly rightly) that they will choose to do the wrong thing.


But to pretend that helping the Palestinian government NOW would be 'supporting terrorists' and helping the Palestinian government 2 weeks ago was NOT is hypocracy.


Blackstone
QUOTE(Titus @ Jan 29 2006, 03:11 AM)
QUOTE
Blackstone

And you disagree with that general assessment? Do you think the voters were ignorant of Hamas's activities? If not, then indeed they either didn't care, or actively supported it. There aren't too many other possibilities.


Well, I think my frustration with that scenario is based, in part, on the idea that if they did brush aside the fact that Hamas is a terror group, that it was out of malice. I think if there is a disregard, it's because Palestinians are too busy wondering if they're gonna find work. I think it's because they're more concerned about gettin their kids proper medical care rather than what some other jerk with a TNT vest does.

One common trait that transcends cultures is the idea that a man lookouts for numero uno. He looks out for he and his. If that means choosing between a terror group that's run the country into the ground, and a terror group that provides social programs, they're gonna choose what benefits them.

To fault them for it is another hypocritical position.

There's nothing hypocritical about it at all, at least speaking for myself. For Americans as well as Israelis as well as Palestinians as well as anyone else, voting is a heavy responsibility. There are consequences for voting a certain way, and it's the voter's responsibility to keep that in mind. So now the Palestinians may not have voted for Hamas with the intention of having them bomb Israelis, but there's no way they could not have been aware of their activities. Hence, they have to accept responsibility for it, regardless of what their intentions were when they voted. That's just an inextricably necessary attribute of self-government.

My most essential point here is in response to the fact that a few people on this thread have been suggesting that because Hamas was the people's democratic choice, it's entitled to some kind of special reverence. But in reality, democracy doesn't sanctify Hamas. Democracy is only a tool for making a government respectable, but like any tool, it's only as good as those who use it. The fact that a government is democratically elected does not in itself make it respectable.

QUOTE
QUOTE
Blackstone

But the fact that we were duped into playing along with Fatah's make-believe game doesn't mean we have any obligation to let ourselves be duped even further. Instead, it's time to wake up to the reality of the situation there, and do away with the folly on our part that has allowed it to continue and worsen.


We were duped? blink.gif I dunno, you'd think all the Israeli airstrikes, helo-attacks, and surrounding Arafat's compound for ages would tip us off? blush.gif

Yes, we (generally speaking, the American people) were duped into thinking that Arafat and the PLO had "reformed", and that Israel was irrationally and recklessly overreacting by going after. The links between the Fatah and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade were consistently played down, as they continue to be played down after Arafat's death. If these things about Fatah get hidden from view, just think of what's being ignored about Hamas.

QUOTE
And what's even better is that you appear to suggest to face reality by walking away from the table altogether. The reality is we have no choice but to deal with Hamas when it comes to brokering peace. Are we to just turn our noses and walk out of the room?
*

Of course we have a choice. Keep in mind that the Palestinians have a lot more to lose than the Israelis from a breakdown in relations between the two sides, especially now that Israel has its security barrier up. Their choice is either to try to move forward by establishing peaceful relations with the Israelis, or continue to fester in their bitter hatred and misery.

It's Hamas's choice whether to come to the table, not ours.
bucket
QUOTE(psyclist)
Let's see, who else has a deep religious convictions that they use to justify the occupation of land... hmmm.gif


Whose land is it? Is it a sovereign nation..the Gaza Strip? Is the West Bank a part of the nation of Palestine? Because from what I understand just the general concept of there being a recognized Palestinian state is still a conflict. Only something like half of the world officially recognizes Palestine as a sovereign nation...and it is mostly the non-western half. I think you treat this issue far too casually and that when speaking or debating about it with others you should remember how basic and fundamental this conflict is.

QUOTE(psyclist)
If you believe in this standard of universal human rights, then why don't you apply those same rights to the Palestinian people? Don't they have human rights? Should the Israeli's be allowed to build a wall that is in violation of UN resolutions and International humanitarian law and causes the loss of jobs, movement, and livelyhood? Should a major source of income, olive trees, be torn from their roots? Should Palestinians water be taken away or under the control of an occupying power? It's water! The most important aspect of a country's domestic, industrial, and agricultural needs. Should IOF/IDF forces be allowed to kill women and children through excessive force, enter houses at will, enforce curfews and jail Palestinians at will?



Did I privately share with you my personal opinions or thoughts on the welfare and basic human rights of the Palestinian people? Because I know I havenít shared them here in this debate and I know I rarely if ever discuss the Israeli Palestinian conflict here at ad.gif at all...so I am curious as to how you have come to the conclusion that I have forgotten or feel it unnecessary to bother myself with my stated universal belief of a human rights standard universally. I guess you are calling me a liar, that when I say universal you must imagine I really donít mean it and exactly where have you gained this insight on me?

In a conflict one side wants you the viewer to appeal to itís cause, they want you to identify with their suffering and their need in order to gain your support but they also require and want you to identify with their perceived image or concept of their enemy.

Contrary to your perception of me..I havenít chosen a ďsideĒ

Universal is to me something I believe needs to happen all over the world, for everyone. I just donít recognize the Palestinian peopleís human rights as including their right to seek the full and total destruction of Israel, as much as the Palestinians have the right to exist, govern and control their own nation in peace...the Israelis do too.

I supported the international rejection for the democratic election of Haider and so why would I not again support my view or belief that progressive and liberal government is the desired form of government? Why should I have to lower my standards when it comes to the Palestinians?
Artemise
What really do any of Us know of Palestine? A few miles strip which has been stripped of wealth, carted off by Israelis, bombed and bulldozed to levels none of us can imagine, used, abused, and constant murder of a people with no civil or human rights, a wall dividing the useless desert from the already taken 'good' parts, and that itty bit left being fought over- by a (false) nation that was bequeathed the land by western influence. Fake, and falsely thought of as 'Israel' because we westerners had a bad concience about Hitler and WW2.

Does one wonder WHY the people elect extremists? Let me ask YOU, IF you lived THERE, what would you choose? Walk in someone elses shoes, not in your shoes from here. Palestinians had no say or choice but have lived there all there ancestral lives. Jews were nomads, designated to wander in the desert for 40 years by GOD himself.

We asked for democracy in the Middle East. Its just too damn bad that democracy doesnt fit our expectations on this side of the world.

So far, life under Isreali rule has not been anything but complete and total rape and pillage. Palestinians are second class citizens. Allowed to come clean Israeli homes, clean Israeli dung, make selling business and locked up at night on the other side of a wall, by the military.

Please tell me, HOW anyone can consider THAT a life? IF it were me Id fight against this lifetime of slavery and injustice. All of you would!
Every single last one of us would! IF it were us.

They are not us, they are living it. You are not living it. You are not a slave. You are not locked up like cattle at night on the 'bad' side of the fence, like animals.
We, are having a hard time 'getting it'.
Strange because we fought so hard for freedom, yet we are so willing for others to be slaves, as long as the slave traders look similar to ourselves.
Israel HAS a nuclear bomb, we didnt get so uppity about THAT, did we?
lordhelmet
QUOTE(Artemise @ Jan 30 2006, 03:55 AM)

What really do any of Us know of Palestine? A few miles strip which has been stripped of wealth, carted off by Israelis, bombed and bulldozed to levels none of us can imagine, used, abused, and constant murder of a people with no civil or human rights, a wall dividing the useless desert from the already taken 'good' parts, and that itty bit left being fought over- by a (false) nation that was bequeathed the land by western influence. Fake, and falsely thought of as 'Israel' because we westerners had a bad concience about Hitler and WW2. 

Does one wonder WHY the people elect extremists? Let me ask YOU, IF you lived THERE, what would you choose? Walk in someone elses shoes, not in your shoes from here. Palestinians had no say or choice but have lived there all there ancestral lives. Jews were nomads, designated to wander in the desert for 40 years by GOD himself. 

We asked for democracy in the Middle East. Its just too damn bad that democracy doesnt fit our expectations on this side of the world. 

So far, life under Isreali rule has not been anything but complete and total rape and pillage. Palestinians are second class citizens. Allowed to come clean Israeli homes, clean Israeli dung, make selling business and locked up at night on the other side of a wall, by the military.

Please tell me, HOW anyone can consider THAT a life? IF it were me Id fight against this lifetime of slavery and injustice. All of you would! 
Every single last one of us would! IF it were us. 

They are not us, they are living it. You are not living it. You are not a slave. You are not locked up like cattle at night on the 'bad' side of the fence, like animals. 
We, are having a hard time 'getting it'.
Strange because we fought so hard for freedom, yet we are so willing for others to be slaves, as long as the slave traders look similar to ourselves.
Israel HAS a nuclear bomb, we didnt get so uppity about THAT, did we?
*




This is mis-statement of the history of the region. The radicals who now call themselves "Palestinians" were in Jordan until the Jordanian king got sick of Arafat's troublemaking, killed hundreds of them, and shipped them out of his country in 1971.

The "land" that is Israel now is not "Palestinian" land any more than Michigan is "Chippewa" land. The west bank and Gaza have been occupied by both Egypt and Jordan and I didn't see any international outrage against their "slavery" of the Palestinians.

The so-called "Palestinians" have adopted a mind-set of terror and violence. They refuse to negotiate in good faith with the Israelis or they'd have their own country by now given the endless efforts of the United States and the West to force Israel to give up lands that they were given by the UN or by the spoils of self-defensive wars.

Who held that land in ancient times is irrelevant. The Palestinians are not "victims", they are the people who have supported terrorists like Arafat and elected terrorists like Hamas. They have rewarded a mind-set that demands the outright destruction of Israel, a clinging to ancient traditions and an ignoring of the actual history of that region.

I say, enough is enough with the "plight of the Palestinians". Their plight is the result of THEIR Actions. Israel have attacked them, for sure... but in self-defense. Israel have taken a previously worthless chunk of land that nobody did anything with and built a modern civilization based on the best traditions of individual freedom and democracy. And, the result is an endless barrage of attacks from the arab countries who's track record of peace toward their own neighbors is anything but stellar.

It's time to move into the present. The United States isn't going to give Michigan back to the Chippewas and Israel isn't going to give their state back to the "Palestinians". With respect to the past, there is plenty of "Palestinian" blood on Arab hands to go around. The Palestinians "have" a homeland. It's called "Jordan". They've been offered even more than that, their "own" state which they'd have already if they didn't keep pursuing their unrealistic agenda of destroying Israel.

We need to be on the side of civilization, freedom, and democracy. Not on the side of a 7th century religious orientation based on strict totalitarian rule, lack of rights for women, and a reliance on violence and terrorism.
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