Monday, January 30, 2006

Quo Vadis Palestine?

It seems that the ever lasting tensions in the Middle East will never disappear. All hopes for a successful resolution of the Israeli-Palestine problems have been squashed by the Hamas's political victory in the latest democratic elections. The world is literally stunned: even Condi Rice has been asking how it is possible that the entire Administration got it wrong. Nobody expected a Hamas landslide of this kind. Hamas is on the USA and EU list of terrorist organizations, its ultimate goal is destruction and deletion of Israel. The Oslo Roadmap to peace is now, apparently, an obsolete document with no real perspective, while simultaneously no alternative has been laid on the table. Beside that there is no one in the regione who could move on the heavy rusty carriage: the leaders are either dead or in coma.

What to do now? Where to go from here? USA has already announced that it will cut the humanitarian aid to the Palestines, now awarding it only on a case by case basis. UN, according to its Secretary General, is considering the same move. EU is still insisting on the old track. But what has this humanitarian aid changed for the better? The big part of it has disappeared in the corrupt pockets of the Palastine officials.

As the commentator in the latest Newyorker has emphasized - the reality in the Middle East is bleak: the people can choose on democratic elections, without necessary preceding democratic institutional structures, between the corrupt dictators affiliated with the West or the militant religious fundamentals "devoted" to the ordinary people. Hamas victory has showed what the people have opted for. At the end of the day it seems that building the wall is the only, though unfortunate, solution.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Gregor Langus said...

The political victory of Hamas did not come as a surprise to those who talked to Palestinians.

It is the media that is telling us we should be surprised and that is why we are surprised. The handfull of those who make the news (and not do the prudent journalism) were wrong (or wanted for something else to be true so bad that they believed it) . For the mass of others the only clue on what is going on is this media. They are surprised for two reasons: (1) They believed the media when the media said something was about to happen and (2) they believed the media when it said that it was a surprise when this did not happen (or vice versa).

This is a form of European (and of course the US, but I will not talk about that) stupidity which allows a sloppy and low quality, but high leveraga journalism (like SKY, CNN) to keep going and having such influence. They were not wrong... it was a surprise. So next time we will listen and awe again.

Well, I was not surprised this time. Simply because I talked to some Palestinians about their politics. And so should you. And only then could should you allow yourself to be or not be surprised.

The incentives for Hamas have changed. It is no longer in its interest (even given the goal that the commentators assign to it) to push for the extreme actions. It will want to resort to more moderate policies in order to capitalize on thisvictory and to come closer to its goal (whatever that is). They will also rephrase their mission statement. Ideology is not a fundament. It is a tool. (The sooner you will understand that the better for the world.) And now Hamas is working on a different problem which requires them to rethink and reshufle their toolbox.

It is also not in the interest of the EU and the US to punish the winner of elections which they set up. They will lose credibility.

The situation here is suspiciously close to the situation in Vietnam after the peace with the French and the threat of the victory of the comunists in Vietnam elections. The US reacted by installing the puppet dictator. Things started happening. The history seems not to have taught us much (Are you sure you know the history).

Hamas has to be given the space and the necessary credibility by the big players. Then they can, and have to, change their mission statement in return. We can ask them to change their goals, but it is useless and stupid because we cannot verify these anyhow (and it is a kind of the kindergarden naiveity to think that this is what really matters). The Israelis are ready to sit with Hamas. If it is not recognized Hamas will not have the means and the credibility to offer and demand concessions.

I think the Israelis are strong enough to lead the way. I wander if the EU and the US will let Hamas and Palestine to follow this way. They have come too far to turn back now.


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