CRITICAL TURNING POINT January 29, 2006Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
Will Hutton, writing in The Observer sees the election of Hamas as an opportunity for the peace process, albeit one that might be lost if the Israelis, and perhaps the Americans, take the position that they cannot deal with the new government.
He suggests that Hamas now they are in government, and therefore accountable to their parliament and to the wider Palestinian public opinion, do not now have the license to wage asymmetrical warfare through suicide bombing. Moreover, he says:
Hamas always was as much a political as a religious organisation and its political dimension was there for all to see. Now it has won, it is locked in a political, rather than terrorist, dynamic. . . The occupation may go on, but the political position of the principal resistance movement has been transformed.
The choice for the new government then is war, or ultimately negotiation.
And Hamas does not want war. Already this reality is forcing extraordinary change.
In the light of the conversation here, I am stuck by this opinion:
But it’s not just voting that will count in Palestine; it is, by Arab standards, the free press, the independent courts, trade unions and enfranchised electorate.
If indeed it is the West’s job to ensure that the Palestinian State is supported, and to ensure that Israel does not miss the opportunity to negotiate with the Palestinians, then this might be a transforming moment in their War on Terror for the Americans, and dare I suggest the Australian Government.
Postscript: Bad enought having disjointed sentences, but spelling errors are frustrating. I do have Word and I do have a spell-checker, so these mistakes are less acceptable, than simply not reading what I have written.
Comment: 29/01/2006 - I cannot see the flaw in the logic of Will Hutton. I cross-posted to John Quiggin to test the argument. I am not optimistic that the Americans or the Israelis will seize the opportunity, but I would put more faith in the Israeli public opinion than in the Bush Administration.
Now this is expert opinion from Gilbert Achcar, via Juan Cole, suggesting it is too easy to get optimistic, while ignoring the historical context of events. Sigh.