Hamas peace is an oxymoron
By Ray Hanania
Former President Jimmy Carter was sincere in his efforts to bridge the current conflict by bringing Hamas into a role as a participant in peace negotiations. But he is naïve is believing Hamas wants peace. Hamas is an extremist Islamist group that has succeeded in outdoing Israel’s government in committing violent acts and that has one goal, the creation of an Islamic Republic in Palestine. Hamas doesn’t want peace. It wants Israel’s defeat, something it will probably never have, at least not before wreaking a holocaust on its own people through escalating violence and conflict.
Even though Hamas leaders promised Carter they would recognize Israel in the pre-1967 boundaries, when he departed meetings with their leaders in totalitarian Syria, Hamas immediately contradicted Carter.
Yet there is a chorus of Palestinians and Arabs who insist that Hamas be engaged in the peace process, and that relying on negotiations between Israel and the secular Palestinian Fatah organization continue to result in failure.
Why? Why are Palestinians choosing a future of certain continued conflict over compromise? Because for Palestinians, going nowhere is better than going someplace they refuse to be. Real compromise.
Israel has not been sincere in pursuing peace either, but Palestinians have been helpless in conveying that reality. Israel’s governments talk the talk but avoid the walk at all costs. They are best at manipulating Palestinian extremism, using it as the guaranteed excuse to halt negotiations and justify their true goals of expanding their control over the West Bank while creating circumstances so oppressive for Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank that they will leave both.
But the paradox here is not so much that Israel’s government is playing the same old Israeli shell game of promising peace but pursuing land annexation, settlement expansion and Palestinian expulsions.
Rather it is the Palestinian failure to embrace a national strategy of survival. Their tragedy results from a combination of bad historical luck, a toothless and ineffective military with a load bark, completely incompetent leadership, pathetically poor media relations, and a visionless strategy hijacked by an emotional dream of returning to a Palestine past.
The only real option for the Palestinian extremists has been to reject peace on the long shot hope that some day and some how they will defeat Israel militarily.
Palestinians were accused of “celebrating” the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Even though al-Qaeda had absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinian cause – Bin Laden only turned to it as a cheap opportunity to rally Arab and Islamic support as he and his fighters were being decimated – Israel’s extremist leaders strategically manipulated post-Sept. 11 anger to reinforce their rejection of compromise with the Palestinians.
Their rejection of reality has given Israel carte blanche to pursue more extremist policies. Building the 28 foot tall concrete wall. Expanding illegal Jewish-only apartheid settlements on confiscated Arab lands in the West Bank. And imposing policies that stubbornly push Christians and Muslims to leave both Israel and the West Bank.
Israel never really wanted to Gaza. But they have always coveted the West Bank. Even during the peace process, Israelis always promoted maps of Israel that failed to delineate the West Bank as being separate.
Still, while Israeli extremism is driven by long term strategic and achievable goals, backed up by a mastery of public relations. Israel has enormous political capital built up on a steady strengthening of their relationship with the United States, which is today the world’s single most powerful nation.
Palestinian goals are based on extremism fueled by their limitless emotion and boundless anger. They have a whim of steel that empowers their inability to win over any support from the United States, which can and does dictate all of the major actions in the Middle East. But Palestinians do have support from the peanut gallery, a gaggle of powerless nations from Europe, the Third World, and the Arab and Islamic Worlds.
Out gunned. Out maneuvered. Out strategized. Palestinians are left only with their frustrations.
Yet despite this almost self-erected Palestinian despondency, Israel also remains incapable of achieving its own goals, at least immediately. Israel continues to maintain the upper hand in the conflict, blaming Palestinians for horrendous acts of immoral violent conduct while committing horrendous and immoral conduct of their own.
The Israel uses of “flechettes” in its weaponry, filling missiles and bombs with metal shrapnel, is no different an end result than a Hamas suicide bomber strapped with explosives packed tightly with pieces of metal.
But without a professional communications strategy, Palestinians have absolutely no hope of balancing the scales of public opinion, even when Israel’s violence exceeds in immoral conduct the acts of Palestinian extremists.
Without the support of Americans, Palestinians have no chance of forcing Israel to end its aggressive land thefts, illegal settlement expansion and the wanton killing of Palestinian civilians.
And, without a clear political strategy stripped of emotion and anger, Palestinians have no hope of achieving any status in any future state combination.
They can’t create two states. They can’t create one state. But they can help build Israel into a state that eventually will have no non-Jewish citizens.
That is where today’s impasse is headed.