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THE VICTORY OF HAMAS January 27, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.

Not that I follow Palestinian politics, but I am not surprised at Hamas clear victory in the parliamentary elections, as the BBC reports, with 76 seats of the 132 seats. The escalation of conflict, in spite of the asymmetrical nature of military capability with Israeli predominance, and the recourse to indiscriminate suicide bombing by the Palestinians, has I suspect, not so much hardened attitudes but squeezed out the expression of moderate opinions on both sides. After all, this almost always happens. For example,Bertrand Russell was, I think, very brave to oppose his government’s war against Germany, and go to jail.

I wish that Australia had followed a more middle course seeking the resolution of conflict and opposing the murder of innocent people, whether they be Palestinians or Israelis. I do not know why Australia adopts this position, other than to form an identity with American policy. Otherwise, we might perform the role of an honest broker with peace, justice and humanity as our objectives.

It seems to me the policy challenge for the US, begins with the policy makers themselves, who appear to ignore history and the grievances of the Palestinian people, and for that matter the grievances of the Israeli people, as distinct from the unilateralist and belligerent stance of the Israeli Government. I would expect “double standards” from the Americans. And sometimes, if not always, see map, a picture is worth a thousand words. The CIA gives the data on Israel, including the population, six million plus. Similarly, the CIA presents sets of statistics, including population for the West Bank. And here is a historical context in numbers, about which there are conflicting claims

Sure Israel is a democracy, but so now is Palestine, at least in that sense defined by the holding of parliamentary elections. They are both arguing over the same ground, without recognizing each others claims. I suspect unless the Palestinian historically based experience of dispossession is not addressed, and while Israel continues to claim entitlement as an apartheid state based on religion, the conflict will continue, regardless of the expected continuation of the Israeli predominance of military force.

Not withstanding, Juan Cole’s more informed outstanding of the developments, he concludes that ” a fatal paralysis will continue to afflict the region”, in part because of the lack of clear-sightedness of American policy.

We might yet, be a more valuable member of the international community, if we were to exercise an independent foreign policy in relation to those issues in which we could do so.

On John Quiggin’s Weekend Reflections, I added:

I appreciate this topic was covered on MMB, but my question is why is it that we seem to have a bi-partisan, as I understand it, pro-Israeli policy?

The Labor policy appears to more like I am espousing. I cannot find a policy statement on the Liberal site.

However, Peter Manning had this to say, which appears to provide a frame for our thinking about matters Middle Eastern.

Postscript: If I make a mistake here, I just fix it, something which is not so easy to do elsewhere.



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