Monday, October 27, 2003


Both sides believe that they can afford to wait; the Israelis for the U.S. neocons to extend their blundering in Iraq into an all out war against fundamentalist Islam, which would swallow up the Islamist Palestinians and enable the Israelis to deal with the remaining leadership on its terms; the Palestinians simply wait for the rest of the world to ride to their rescue against the Israel-U.S. alliance, the U.S. to fall as a world power or for the U.S. to withdraw support from Israel.

I have never gotten the impression that either side expects these things to happen. If they do expect it, these are pipe dreams at best. But demographic shifts in the region are not pipe dreams. It is quite certain that the Israeli Jews will be outnumbered by Arabs in a relatively short period of time. When that occurs, the Arabs need no longer demand an independent nation, removal of the settlements, right of return, etc, etc. They can drop all of their demands, and ask for a single thing: a vote. While the US can stand with Israel on all of these other issues, I do not believe (and I'd be surprised if you think this is the case) that the US will support Israel in denying these people over whom the Israeli government has ruled for some 30+ years the right to participate in that government. Once it comes to this demand the situation is very much analogous to South Africa, another US ally whom we eventually had to abandon once it became clear that their actions were too directly in conflict with our purported values and beliefs. Once the situation is that of a minority of Jews ruling over an Arab majority without political representation, creating essentially a caste class system, it will be politically untenable for the US to stand behind Israel. And once global political and economic pressure forces Israel (whose economy is already coming apart at the seams) to let the Palestinians vote, Israel loses. This is not pipe dreams, that's the political reality of the situation. The Palestinians can wait, the Israelis cannot.

Yassin's statement that he was willing to accept a two-state solution ranks up there on the credibility scale with George W. Bush saying he's a compassionate conservative whose tax cuts help the poor and O.J. Simpson saying he's innocent and hot on the trail of the real killer.

I find it interesting, I guess, the way you lay out some the claims against Hamas. Sure their charter says a lot of bad things, but it was written nearly 15 years ago, and most of it is rather laughable (ie. blaming Jews for carrying out the Holocaust). You do yourself a disservice if this is the basis on which you are evaluating the actions taken by Hamas. How do you explain that Yassin, despite ample excuses to back out provided courtesy of the IDF during his negotiations with Abbas, agreed to the truce? Another ploy? Like convincing the Palestinian people that Arafat is corrupt (which I have never heard a whiff of, and which your own analysis of Arafat's actions in regard to Oslo contradicts)? Or slyly convincing the West that Israel is in the wrong (something, again I have seen no evidence for)? Or putting Sharon in power? This all seems to reek of conspiracy theories. The words and actions of Hamas line up in a perfectly consistent manner to indicate they are willing to negotiate for peace in the form of a two-state solution. What, aside from a 15-year old document consisting mostly of ridiculous tripe, do you have to make you believe that the words and actions of Hamas are no more than an elaborate scheme? And if you believe them to be so supremely shrewd as to be able to pull off all of the things you claim them responsible for, how does this jive with your belief that they are so monumentally stupid as to believe all the bogus crap in their charter?

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