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The fading ember of hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Comments (20)

You didn't seem to mention ... (Below threshold)

You didn't seem to mention that the reason Israel took the Golan Heights is that the Syrians regularly bombarded Israeli cities using artillery from those heights which overlooked them.

I guess they got sick of random artillery attacks and decided to take and hold the territory so that no more attacks could be made.

Anyone doubt they would start the shelling again as soon as they get that territory back? Anyone seriously thinking that they would honor any ceasefire agreement, as they have failed to do repeatedly? No? Good.

Hmmmm.The problem ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

The problem is that the Islamic world hasn't had to deal with the consequences of their actions. So they continue to think that any action simply doesn't *have* any consequences. This institutional ignorance is probably why Iran is so hot for a nuclear weapon.

Perhaps they think that there won't be any consequences for that either.

Actually, they did annex th... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

Actually, they did annex the Golan. My National Geographic atlas doesn't show the border between pre-1967 Israel and the Golan.

OK, Wikipedia says it's mor... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

OK, Wikipedia says it's more complex than that.

Dear Ed,You said:... (Below threshold)

Dear Ed,

You said:
The problem is that the Islamic world hasn't had to deal with the consequences of their actions.

What actions are you talking about? Where did you get the idea that Iran wants a Nuclear Bomb?

All they want is some Nuclear Energy. Where do you guys cook up all these false stories?

Remember Iran's nuclear reactors will be monitored by the IAEA.

I guess this is America being America.

Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan
WMDS in Iraq
And now Nukes in Iran

We all get it.


Israel ought to shut off th... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Israel ought to shut off the electric and water service to Gaza. Hey Hamas, here is your hudna.
Next time call us for unconditional surrender.

It is true that there are a... (Below threshold)
ztp:

It is true that there are armed militias in Iraq. The militias are kept because of the fear by all sides of a civil war and of reprisals by the other militias. This still does not change the fact that it is in the best interest of all sides (except the most extremist groups) to form a peaceful government and avoid the deterioration and genocide that would come with a full scale civil war. Does Iraq have a government? Maybe not one that has the control that is needed to keep the peace for long periods. Does it want one? Most in Iraq do, the hard part is getting everyone at the table and to get them to give up the security the militias bring and put faith in a national militia.

What actions are y... (Below threshold)
What actions are you talking about?

Attacking Israel in 1948, 1967, 1973...

Where did you get the idea that Iran wants a Nuclear Bomb?

Their president says so. Where have you been?

Long term truce seems to be... (Below threshold)
Sean P:

Long term truce seems to be the new terrorist buzzword. Funny, nobody has bothered to notice that long term truce is not the same thing is peace, and isn't intended to mean the same thing as peace.

McGehee,MU cannot pr... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

McGehee,
MU cannot process any reality where the US are not oppressors and the West is the root of all of the middle east's problem.

[email protected] Muslim Uni... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Muslim Unity

The problem is that the Islamic world hasn't had to deal with the consequences of their actions.

I'm glad we agree on this.

What actions are you talking about? Where did you get the idea that Iran wants a Nuclear Bomb?

Iran currently sits atop the world's second largest oil reserves and regularly discharges natural gas into the air rather than piping it into storage areas for later use. So having issues with insufficient energy isn't exactly high on the priority list. Which makes the idea of civilian nuclear power rather ridiculous.

Then there's the statements made by the President of Iran.

All they want is some Nuclear Energy. Where do you guys cook up all these false stories?

See above.

Remember Iran's nuclear reactors will be monitored by the IAEA.

Considering how utterly ineffectual the IAEA is, that's not exactly an encouragement.

I guess this is America being America.

I'm quite flattered but as a private citizen I don't think my views should be taken as indicative of the 300+ million people in America as a whole.

Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan WMDS in Iraq And now Nukes in Iran

*shrug* Saddam himself is on record in audio tapes talking about WMDs. A couple former generals in the Iraqi military wrote *books* on how Iraq shifted WMDs to Syria and Lebanon.

We all get it.

Sadly I don't think you do.

Debating with me won't accomplish anything. Regardless of the words exchanged here muslims all over the world are busily instilling fear. Sure there are an estimated 1.2 billion muslims. There's also an estimated 5 billion non-muslims.

There is no question who would lose in a world-wide conflagration. The only question is what will be the trigger and when. But when fear of muslim violence exceeds restraint the result will be horrific.

If history has taught anything at all it's that when fear exceeds restraint that's when anything is possible even permissible.

"Does Iraq have a governmen... (Below threshold)
bobbi pin:

"Does Iraq have a government? Maybe not one that has the control that is needed to keep the peace for long periods. Does it want one? Most in Iraq do, the hard part is getting everyone at the table and to get them to give up the security the militias bring and put faith in a national militia."
Posted by: ztp at February 27, 2006 12:22 PM

ZTP:
You're missing the point. Dubya and his cronies promised that Iraq was a slam dunk (remember "Mission Accomplished"?), and instead it's getting worse and worse. By the way, can anyone tell us when the Bush Twins are going to fight their father's "noble cause"? Funny how everyone in the Bush family seems to be staying out of harms way.....

I would have to disagree wi... (Below threshold)
Ztp:

I would have to disagree with the assertion that Iraq is doomed and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. Since going into Iraq there have been elections and all three groups have shown a willingness to negotiate and bend in order to come to a compromise. I do not remember Bush ever saying that it would be over in a week. Anyone who believed that to begin with in some ways would deserve to be fooled, even without anyone attempting it. Further, the left who is bent on humanitarianism and stopping torture, etc... should realize the humanitarian crises that would ensue if there was an abandonment of the middle east and a policy of ignoring the dictators that control that area.

Hmmm.(rem... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

(remember "Mission Accomplished"?)

No doubt you'll start writing about plastic turkeys too.

ed, here's an instructive q... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

ed, here's an instructive quote from MU's own blog
It has become clear now. This isn't only about 'so-called' freedom of speech. It's a war against Islam. France has printed the cartoons once more. This only proves their evil goals and aims. It seems they have not yet learnt a lesson from the past riots

SCSIwuzzy,Please p... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SCSIwuzzy,

Please post the link for MU's blog. It might be interesting to know more.

SCSIwuzzy,Nevermin... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SCSIwuzzy,

Nevermind, I got the link.

Muslim Unity,You s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Muslim Unity,

You say on your blog that...

An innocent American who dies in a suicide bomb attack and an innocent Iraqi killed by American troops are victims of the same culprit - hate spreading racists and extremists. We need to get rid of hate and people who spread hate.

So how are you going to get rid of hate spreading racists and extremists? Such people don't go away on their own, so you are going to need to use force. When these extremists hide behind women and children and other innocent people, you will find you are killing some innocent people as well as those you target. This is the very thing you claim you are against. Obviously you haven't thought this through very well.

I admire those of you (like... (Below threshold)

I admire those of you (like ed, McGehee, and SCSIwuzzy) who have tried to engage "Muslim Unity" in some kind of reasonable, factual discussion of the issues, but I'm afraid it's for naught. The only things he seems to be capable of are (a) parotting bogus facts and (b) playing the victim card.

He reminds me a lot of Baghdad Bob from the Iraq war: "THE AMERICANS ARE NOT IN BAGDHAD. WE HAVE BEEN KILLING THEM ALL OVED IRAQ. THEIR DESTRUCTION IS COMPLETE AND THEIR CARCASSES LIE ROTTING IN THE -- what? DO NOT ANNOY ME NOW WITH YOUR DISPATCHES, YOU SON OF A PIG, AT LEAST WAIT UNTIL -- really? you mean, it's over? Already? OOPS, GOTTA GO NOW, BYE!"

Hmmm.Actually I ra... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Actually I rather miss Baghdad Bob and wish he'd get into shilling products on tv. Sounds wierd but I found his diatribes to be vastly entertaining.

I think he could do very well hawking Doritos or something.

As for the discussion at hand. *shrug* what can you do? The scenario I've outlined is horrific and must be avoided. But I really don't see how. Iran needs to be stopped from having or using a nuclear weapon. But there are really only two ways of doing so.

One is by an internal revolution formented by dissatisfaction brought on by close proximity to a free and prosperous Iraq where many of the Iranian Shia'a go for pilgrimmages.

The other is by outside military action.

If the first happens then things could become much better. If the second happens, then all of this will devolve into warfare. So I have a lot of hopes for Iraq.




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