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What is Hamas thinking?

David Samel


September 1, 2010

As the "peace talks" are about to get under way in Washington, Hamas has decided to remind us all of its vitality by executing four settlers. According to the New York Times article, Hamas claimed that the attack was "a natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and its settlers" and demonstrates that the "armed Palestinian resistance is present in the West Bank despite the war to uproot it."

Hamas, and all Palestinians, have good reason to be pissed off. The Washington peace conference excludes any recognition of Hamas, principally because it has blood on its hands –– a tiny percentage of the blood on Israel’s hands. The Palestinian representative at these talks is a pathetic, impotent figure whose popular support among his supposed constituents is laughable. The sponsor for the talks is the most powerful country in the world, which has consistently given unwavering military, economic and diplomatic support to the other side, regardless of questions of international law and common decency. More generally, Israel is in its 44th year of imposing a military dictatorship over millions of people that has no signs of abating, and is engaging in its umpteenth maneuver to extend such control indefinitely while feigning a willingness to relinquish it.

But are any of these reasons to murder four people in cold blood? Was it necessary to prove that the Hamas-less conference in Washington was a charade? Couldn’t it collapse under its own weight?

What is Hamas thinking? It has shown that "armed Palestinian resistance is present" all right, but also that it can act as murderously and stupidly as the government it fights against. Apart from the moral unacceptability of randomly killing human beings, Hamas’s outrage seems doomed to backfire. The world’s view of the situation is finally changing.

The horrors of Gaza and the Mavi Marmara have focused much-needed attention on Israeli violence, and earned Hamas somewhat of a pass for its own past deeds.

Many are finally realizing that excluding Hamas from peace talks with Israel because of its history of violence is absurdly hypocritical. Now Hamas has placed its own murderous predisposition front and center, ceding the moral high ground to Netanyahu, a development that appeared nearly impossible a few days ago. And, if Israel reacts in its usual bloodthirsty and arbitrary fashion, innocent Palestinians, whose only offense is their ethnicity, will die.

American politicians will fall over themselves to get to the microphone to applaud Israel’s exercise of its "right to self-defense" and "deterrence" by demonstrating that "there is a high price to pay for Jewish blood." The Jews of Israel aren’t going anywhere. They are there to stay, and the only question is whether they will insist on maintaining a cruel and unjust system in which they dominate and control, and dispossess and occasionally kill, the indigenous Palestinian population, or whether they accept true equality.

I think equality is inevitable, both morally and historically, but the time it takes to arrive at that resolution is dependent in large part on worldwide opinion. Hamas has just done its best to postpone that outcome.

:: Article nr. 69380 sent on 01-sep-2010 18:10 ECT


Link: mondoweiss.net/2010/09/what-is-hamas-thinking.html

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