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October 07, 2009

Washington Post Confuses Gaza with N. Ireland

The Washington Post's October 7 lead "The World" pages article "What to Do With Hamas? Question Snarls Peace Bid; Islamist Group's Resilience and Obstinacy Frustrate Many" was informative enough to make the Daily Alert news summary distributed by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. But two flaws weakened the report by The Post's Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Howard Schneider.

The Post notes that Hamas (the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement) is "unlikely" to accept international conditions for inclusion in negotiations, including renunciation of violence, adherence to previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and recognition of Israel. But U.S. envoy George "Mitchell faced a similar dilemma during the Northern Ireland peace process, when there was opposition to inclusion of the Irish Republican Army in the talks ...." The analogy fails: the IRA wanted to "liberate" Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom; destroying England and the English people was not its raison d'etre. Hamas' reason for being is to destroy Israel and slaughter the Jewish people; a Gaza Strip and West Bank "Palestine" is only a stepping stone. Since the article cites Hamas and its representatives to this effect, why suggest the Northern Ireland/IRA case is "similar"?

The Post uncritically transcribes the Hamas narrative, writing that "just as the 'peace culture' that followed the signing of the Oslo accords in the early 1990s gave way to an intifada, or uprising in 2000, Hamas officials say the current upbeat mood in the West Bank will at some point erode --- leaving groups that support armed action in favor." The "peace culture" or brief euphoria that followed the 1993 Israeli-Palestine Liberation Organization Declaration of Principles was destroyed by "armed action" --- terrorist attacks on buses, restaurants, shopping malls and other civilian targets --- launched in 1994 by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and PLO-related groups. As many Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists from 1993 to 1998 as were killed in the 15 years before Oslo.

The 2000 intifada, on the other hand, was the Palestinian leadership's violent rejection of that year's Israeli-U.S. offer of a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem country in exchange for peace with Israel as a Jewish state.

"What to Do With Hamas? Question Snarls Peace Bid" highlights some key obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. But it clouds one and trips over another.

Posted by ER at October 7, 2009 03:36 PM


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