The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hamas Victory, But Israeli Action for Peace Continues

I'm sorry I haven't had time to post a longer argument about the Hamas victory to date, and what that victory might mean for the prospect of peace in the region, but that will be coming shortly. I would expect this weekend before I head to Paris, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, though, the article linked to on this post is worth reading. It shows that even after a Hamas victory, and the refusal of Hamas to recognize the State of Israel or the legitimacy of the peace process, Israel continues to dismantle "illegal settlements" in the West Bank, now that Gaza has been withdrawn from. It has taken on its own more extreme elements, even at the expense of the unity of its government (the split from Likud earlier this year) and the safety of some of its police and forces that are now being attacked violently, having learned from Palestinians in Gaza that violence may cause Israeli forces to back down.

In line with the roadmap and two state solution, of course, I believe that Israel is correct to dismantle illegal settlements in accordance with the roadmap. Yet the fact that they continue to pursue such steps, when the Palestinian Authority even under the full control of Abbas and Fatah refused to attempt to deal with their own Palestinian radicals (the first step of the roadmap), highlights yet again the uneven nature of the process from the beginning. Israel acts; the PA either doesn’t act or, now with Hamas in control, does not even recognize the legitimacy of Israel or the roadmap process.

The problem all to often has been for Israel that, regardless of what it does, it does not have a credible partner for peace.

And we must not entirely blame Hamas for believing that they are not being treated fairly. Because they have an armed wing, the international community has threatened not to deal with it. The international community never, however, forced Abbas' Fatah itself to disarm its own armed wing -- the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade -- when it was in government.

The Palestinian security force numbers in excess of 60,000 men; Hamas is estimated to have nearly 5,000 fighters. Yet there has never been the will by the Palestinian leadership to disarm the forces that continued to terrorize Israel and even Palestinians themselves (just ask the thousands who have been accused of being “collaborators” in recent years, if you can stomach speaking to unmarked graves). The international community must therefore stand with unity, as it has been until now, and demand that any Palestinian leadership that is to be accepted and aided must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and accept the agreements made through Oslo already. In addition, to prove these conditions, the PA must finally take the first step of the roadmap seriously and begin to dismantle its terrorist infrastructure.

I realize that these steps are unlikely to be accomplished overnight, but, until they are, Israel has conceded enough to prove its dedication to the peace process. Until there is a viable and active partner in peace, there is no peace process. Israel is justified, then, in preserving its own political unity for what is sure to be a struggle ahead rather than remaining committed to carrying out the roadmap that the Palestinian leadership has shown no intention of following.

Ok, so that is my rant of the day. I’ll hopefully have a bit more balanced (and in some ways even optimistic!) post about the elections to come.


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