Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's World War 3!!!!11!!!1

So there is much that could be said about the Middle East. But I think the most interesting part for me is an opportunity missed. Back when this started (even before Hezbollah became involved) this fellow in Syria, Khaled Meshaal, a member of Hamas, instigated a kidnapping in Gaza. The Hamas leadership in Palestine was obviously taken by surprise, and their initial impulse appears to have been to open a dialogue with Israel to contain the situation. They were initially willing to finally move on official recognition for Israel. The Palestinian PM, also a Hamas member, even wrote a column in the Washington Post asking not for the destruction of Israel, but for the 1967 borders, the right of return, and East Jerusalem, which is to say the usual peace framework. This was one of those rare dynamic moments where a balance has been upset and change can occur. Israel blew Hamas off and opted for overwhelming military force instead. Hamas soon withdrew their agreement to recognize Israel. I understand that Israel is reluctant to deal with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, but at some point they will have to recognize that military force has yet to accomplish anything of significance against them. Israel spent 18 years in Lebanon, and left Hezbollah stronger than when they arrived. Military action may be a necessary element of the Israeli response to these incidents, but it will never be the element that produces meaningful progress. For that political and diplomatic action is necessary, and opportunities like the one Hamas presented are as good as it will possibly get.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I do think military action was the appropriate response against Hezbollah given that they do not seem to have any valid reason for existence and Lebanon itself is incapable of managing them.

On the other hand, as you point out, dealing diplomatically with Hamas would have been completely appropriate. They are, after all, the elected representatives of Palestine and have some legitimate concerns (e.g. establishment of the Palestinian state). It is a shame that the Israelis can't seem to differentiate the two.