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"Well, if they won't change, then we better."

Well, it's been a bit over a year since Hamas took control of the Palestinian Authority, and about a year since we stopped having formal contact with them. How's that working out?

A quick recap might be in order. In the last elections, the two main parties were Fatah (terrorists who had learned good PR) and Hamas (terrorists who also hired social workers). And to no one's great surprise, terrorists won.

That triggered an autonomic response from the United States government. You see, it's our official policy that we don't deal with terrorists, no matter how many elections they win. So we told the Palestinians "sorry, but we don't talk with the kinds of people you just elected. Get back to us when you put some non-terrorists in charge."

Of course, that was just one reason why we decided we didn't want to deal with a Hamas-dominated governing body. Here's a more thorough list:

1) They are terrorists.

2) They kept up their attacks on Israel.

3) They're terrorists.

4) They renounced all prior agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

5) They're frakking terrorists.

6) They refused to recognize Israel's right to exist.

7) What part of terrorists don't you get?

So, with those little challenges to be overcome, how have things gone in the Palestinian Territories?

Well, the odd-numbered points are still valid. Let's look at the even-numbered ones.

2) In addition to kidnapping Israeli soldiers and announced plans to kidnap more, there have been continued rocket attacks into Israel. Every now and then they slow down the rate and call it a ceas fire, but that's Sooper Sekrit Kode Speek. To most people, "cease fire" means "stop attacking." To them, it's a New York Rolling Stop.

4) They still say they aren't bound to any prior agreements. Of course, everyone else is, including Israel (whom they don't recognize) and nations that had been providing economic support. To violate those agreements is completely unacceptable.

6) This one is more symbolic than anything else, and I've gotten to the point where I simply don't care. The "recognize Israel's right to exist" is utterly meaningless. Israel exists whether they "see" it or not. Besides, even those groups that did recognize it tend to only do so until they can muster the strength to end its actual existence. It's a fig leaf.

So, on all fronts, we see that there has been absolute zero progress on any of the preconditions we laid out for resumption of formal relations with the Palestinian Authority. So, that means that things are not changing, right?

Wrong.

(Hat tip: Charles, as always)

In P. J. O'Rourke's classic "Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts To Explain The Entire U. S. Government," he spent a chapter on the federal budget, and wrote his own. He took a chainsaw to the thing, slashing anything and everything that offended his sensibilities in the slightest. As I recall, the Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Energy were tossed on to the ash heap with barely a moment's hesitation. But he spared the State Department, arguing that it provided a valuable service to our nation -- it "gave us somewhere to send our Ivy League twits."

Considering how often Foggy Bottom seems to set its own agenda, independent of the government it is nominally accountable to, I'm starting to wonder if that advantage might come at too high a price.


Comments (10)

So, what's the right wing i... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

So, what's the right wing idea about Hamas? If we ignore them, maybe they'll go away?

I assure you that I have no more affection for Hamas than you do. But talking with people is a good idea. What if there's a split in Hamas' leadership that could provide a breakthrough? Or some other opportunity that we're not finding out about because we don't talk to them?

I'm not saying this would happen. But I do favor talking, if no other reason that to better understand the situation we're dealing with, and find out when there's a change...or an opportunity.

I feel the same about Iraq. The premiere and the mullahs don't agree on everything, and it's hard to know who controls what there. Shouldn't we keep our ears open, talk with people in their government and find out?

Talking DOESN'T mean endorsement. (I have no fondness for the Iranian government.) Talking and listening is all about communication...and that's a good thing.

What is there to talk about... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

What is there to talk about? How and when to kill the Jews? Israel should quite farting around and just kick the Arabs out altogether. Are the Muslims going to hate them any more for doing so? Are they going to not boycott them? Will the lefties love them less if the did so? I fail to see why the Israeli's should treat the Palestinians any better than the rest of the Arab world treats them.
There is nothing to understand about HAMAS except for the need to destroy the scum.

The IRA were, and some woul... (Below threshold)
jim:

The IRA were, and some would say still are, terrorists.

Yet opening talks with their political arm Sinn Fein, has resulted in a real peace, a near cessation of violent deaths, and for the first time in nearly 80 years the possibility of a united Ireland peacefully coexisting with England.

That's the possibility that comes from evening opening discussions with people - the possibility of results. Even if they're terrorists.

The jury is still out regar... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

The jury is still out regarding the IRA. Besides an inconvinient point overlloked is that if the Brits had simply quite NI the IRA might simply have been slaughtered by the Unionist, that and the fact that they were losing support from Catholics from both sides of the border was no doubt a powerful incentive. Losing Irish American support no doubt had an influence as well. But the single biggest difference is the commie IRA wanted the English out of NI and to unite Ireland (and create a commie country)not just too simply eradicate all the English people like HAMAS wants to do with the Jews.

Of course, the IRA isn't ex... (Below threshold)
jim:

Of course, the IRA isn't exactly equal to other terrorist groups, and of course the Ulster Unionists were in may ways just as bad as the IRA, and perhaps some times worse.

I'm just making the point that discussions with terrorists can yield results, the most important ones being steps towards peace with less bloodshed.

And if the discussions don't work, the status quo remains. So, done right, it's hard for discussions in and of themselves to actually do damage.

I think the point stands:</... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I think the point stands:

No harm comes from talking to bad people and, once in awhile, some good comes of it.

Sadat and Begin talked. They had every reason to hate each other; I don't think they EVER got to like each other. But they had the guts to make peace.

It's rare, but it happens. We should give it a chance by just talking.

jay tea, read this piece. I... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

jay tea, read this piece. It's one of those meta-backgrounders that SSailer is best at. Read it, then go to bed, and you'll wake up 1 whole IQ point smarter. (which would be high! right?)

Oh, the link...<a hr... (Below threshold)
bryanD:
That's the ecological niche... (Below threshold)
kim:

That's the ecological niche, huh? I wonder why someone who gets so much right ends up so pessimistic.
========================

What happened to Kumbayah?<... (Below threshold)
kim:

What happened to Kumbayah?
=====================




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