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Respecting the Palestinians

Yesterday, I heard on NPR a piece by the BBC about how terrible things are for the average Palestinians without Western aid, cut back severely since Hamas was elected to run their government. One of the repeated themes, echoed there as well as in numerous other places since that election, is how hypocritical the United States is. We say we want democracy, but only as long as the folks we like get elected. Vote our way, or else.

This is an amazingly over-simplified load of crap -- a remarkable feat, considering that the folks who usually spout this argument are the ones who most often value nuance and subtleties.

Yes, Hamas won the election. Yes, by most accounts, the elections were fair (as fair as they could be). But to assume that just because Hamas won, the United States would embrace them is sheer idiocy.

1) Hamas has a long-established history of terrorism, and are most famous for bringing the suicide bomber to fame and renown. They have not renounced that aspect, and have not taken a single action to indicate that they are ready to give up on terrorism. Nor do they say that they ever will. On the contrary, they still point with pride to their charter, which calls for the removal or extermination of all non-Muslims from Palestine (which they define as the Occupied Territories as well as all of Israel).

Hamas' assumption of political power was not transformational, but tactical. They sought and took the reins of government solely as a means towards their end, the extermination of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.

2) The United States policy has been, for years, that we shall have no official contact with Hamas, let alone any support. The Palestinian people have chosen to merge their government with Hamas in what could be considered a friendly takeover.

To use a business example, suppose I don't like Bank of America. I refuse to do business with them, instead choosing my local bank. If Bank of America buys my local bank, but doesn't change the name, then I can either continue my personal boycott by switching banks, or give it up and stay with Bank of America's new affiliate. To say that "no, I don't do business with BoA, but with Bob's Bank" after BoA buys Bob's is hypocrisy.

3) There is no international right to American aid. It's OUR money, and we dole it out as WE see fit. If we were to up and decide that from now on we give only to countries that we like, or those whose names have an even number of letters, or those a certain color on a specific map, that's our right. If we were to simply say that nobody gets nothing this year, so be it.

4) The best definition of "freedom" I've ever read came from David Gerrold's novel, "A Matter For Men." He defines it thus:

Freedom is the right to be responsible for one's actions.

To protect someone from the consequences of their actions is to treat them as a child. No, it's worse than that -- it's to treat them as if you want them to always be a child, to never learn that what they do has consequences, and sooner or later they have to accept that, deal with that, and even anticipate that and welcome that.

The Palestinian people didn't have much choice in the January elections, but they had some -- and they chose Hamas, terrorism, and continued fighting and slaughter. That was their right, and we should respect it. We should accept it. But we sure as hell don't have to endorse it.

Already we're seeing increasing signs of a civil war among the Palestinians. There are repeated open conflicts between Hamas and Fatah. Sooner or later, things may just bubble over and explode into a full-scale war between the factions.

If we're lucky, Israel's increased border security will hold (a lesson we could learn) and the terrorists will be bottled up and unable to unite and attack Israel. If we're very lucky, they'll largely ignore the civilian Palestinians (and I recognize that there are some, unlike the Palestinians, who consider "Israeli civilian" an oxymoron) and just wipe each other out.

I'm tempted to take it even one step further, and say that if we are really, really lucky, they'll see where things are heading, stop themselves, and finally find a way towards working towards peace. But as has been noted many, many times, the Palestinian people have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Comments (10)

Rejectionist National Socia... (Below threshold)

Rejectionist National Socialists are prevented from running in German elections.
Rejectionist Ba'athists were prevented from running in Iraqi elections.
Rejectionist Taliban were prevented from running in Afghan elections.
Hell, Rejectionist Kahanists can't run in Israeli elections (although, to be fair, Michael Kleiner's Herut goons can)

But Olmert, Rice and Bush pussed out when it came to the violently Rejectionist Hamas running.

And *that* is the difference.

Are You suggesting We invad... (Below threshold)
Sillary Rotham:

Are You suggesting We invade the Gaza strip to set up a new puppet government like We did in Afghanistan/Iraq?

What's always bothered me a... (Below threshold)

What's always bothered me about this whole thing is that everyone acts as if the Palestinian electorate "chose" terrorism. Hamas is a terrorist organization, but they are a lot more. Hamas is a political party that reaches out to Palestinian citizens with charity, etc, that the Palestinian Authority never did.

Were the Palestinians voting for terrorism, or were they voting for the guys who made the trains run on time?

Regardless, I think we shouldn't support or offer any aid to the Palestinians unless Hamas completely renounces terrorism and the destruction of Israel. But I think the Palestinians had multiple reasons for voting Hamas into power, and I don't know that it was primarily terrorism.

Re: Foreign aidQuo... (Below threshold)

Re: Foreign aid

Quoting Thomas Sowell,

With vastly more money available around the world as private investment than there is as foreign aid, why do Third World countries want or need foreign aid? Because private investors will seldom put their own money into projects that have no realistic chance of working or into countries too corrupt and unreliable to expect the money to be used responsibly, much less repaid.

- MikeB

Jay, Jay, Jay....I... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Jay, Jay, Jay....

It's not "Bob's Bank", it's "Fred's Bank".

What about men and women wh... (Below threshold)

What about men and women who didn't vote for Hamas?

What about the children who could care less about Hamas?

What should those suffer as well?

"To protect someone from the consequences of their actions..." Since many who are/will suffer did not support Hamas, what about them? What "actions" other than the color of their skin and their nationality is the cause of your hatred towards them?

Lee, Lee, Lee.I do... (Below threshold)

Lee, Lee, Lee.

I don't think you realize this, but it's not the US government's job to make the Palestinians all happy and comfy. That's the Palestinian's job. If Europe and the left in general are so worked up about it, then they can start a private charity drive. Or perhaps Europe could simply take over our payments.

But that's not the point, is it? It's all political. It's another way for the world to point at America and tsk over how wicked and horrible we Americans are for not giving Palestine our money, as if the Palestinians are owed it. They're not. We don't owe them a damn thing.

As for those who didn't vote for Hamas, perhaps they should take it up with their fellow Palestinians. After all, they're the ones who caused all this. They're the one with blood on their hands (literally or metaphorically, take your pick).

By the way, thanks for playing the race card. It certainly completes your arguement.

Ahh, it wasn't so long ago ... (Below threshold)

Ahh, it wasn't so long ago when people like Jay Tea were talking about the virture of Bush bringing flourishing Democracy into the Middle East, like a dam breaking open.

Jay Tea: "The Arab world has stagnated for far too long, a motley collection of monarchies, tyrannies, and other forms of dictatorships, eagerly exporting terrorism and unrest and death around the world...
...Until Bush."

Right. Palestine elected a terrorist government.

More brilliant wisdom and predictions from Jay Tea:

"The invasion and conquering of Iraq, and the beginnings of a democracy to take its place, are already showing signs of progress outside Iraq's borders."

Why should anyone be listening to you and your fantasies? You're wrong, a lot.

It was so mean for us to sa... (Below threshold)
Jimmy the Dhimmi:

It was so mean for us to sanction the South-African Apartheid regime. Those poor white people were suffering so much, all they wanted were for the trains to run on time. So what if they elected a genocidal racist government to represent them, shouldn't we have respected their democracy?

Hamas is a terrorist or... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Hamas is a terrorist organization, but...

Ah, yes, the nefarious BUT...which pretty much means we can discount everything following it.

Hitler massacred six million jews, BUT he sure made the trains run on time.

I don't care if Hamas passes out lollipops to all the little children in Gaza and builds 100 hospitals, the point is they are first and foremost:




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