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Wooing Hamas By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 30, 2006

Ever since Hamas's victory in the Palestinian "elections," the media inside and outside Israel have continued to miss the most crucial realities of the Mideast crisis. One of the main themes of the media has been that Hamas' victory is due to the failure of the PLO to deliver public services -- and that Hamas will do a better job delivering such services. A BBC radio commentator, for instance, attributed the Hamas victory to the fact that the terror group is better at fixing potholes and sewers than the PLO.

There are also declarations that Hamas is a group with which Israel and the world can do business. We are told that these terrorists are essentially pragmatists, interested in jobs and budgets. Thus, Hamas may use lurid rhetoric and slogans, but it is most keenly interested in the perks of office. Media commentators who articulate these themes are convinced that, once in office, Hamas will devote all of its energies to ecology, Affirmative Action, and infrastructure repair.

The Israeli Left also argues that Hamas took power because Israel waged its War on Terror. Had Israel just turned the other cheek after each bus or café bombing, the PLO could have stayed in office and struck peace deals with Israel based on new unilateral Israeli appeasements and concessions.
Finally, many in the Israeli far-Left believe Hamas is in power because it is a more "genuine" and "authentic" representative of Palestinian opinion. Israeli leftists increasingly cheer for Hamas, because they openly endorse Hamas's agenda itself, which just happens to be based on annihilating Israel.
Let's clear up a few things:
First, the idea that Hamas will abandon terror because it will be too busy building roads and hospitals is simply absurd. The raison d'etre of Hamas is to foment terror, to attack Israel, to draw Muslim armies into the war with Israel, and building an army to attack Israel and kill its Jewish population. This is not a ulterior motive, but a fundamental part of its charter.
The Hamas Nazi state will immediately begin importing deadly weaponry – not the nickel and dime Kassam rockets being glued together in Gaza basements, but state-of-the-art, 21st-century weapons financed by the Saudis or Iranians: shoulder missiles, tanks, and quite possibly Weapons of Mass Destruction. And there is the added danger that Hezbollah will back Hamas by opening up a second front against Israel from Lebanon.
Hamas took power and evicted the PLO for one reason – and it has nothing to do with potholes: the Palestinian population has been thoroughly Nazified, and Hamas embodies the Palestinian goals of genocide and terror better than the PLO. That is the reason Hamas won. The PLO had been "compromised" in the eyes of most Palestinians by engaging in make-believe cooperation with Israel, by giving lip service to "peace" with the Israelis. The average Palestinian wants none of that.
The Israeli daily Haaretz, represented best by its anti-Israel leftist fanatic Gideon Levy, celebrates the victory of Hamas as a great moral victory, not because it will force Israelis to acknowledge the folly of the last 14 years of appeasement, but because Haaretz columnists simply endorse the goals of Hamas.
Here is Levy's wisdom:

The good news from the occupied territories is that Hamas won the elections…one can find quite a few points of light in the Hamas victory. First, these are very authentic results, achieved through elections that were respectably democratic, even though they took place under the least democratic circumstances imaginable, the occupation. As usual, we were threatened by our experts with "anarchy," and, as usual, the Palestinians did not meet those expectations. There was no shooting and no rioting; the Palestinian nation had its say with admirable order. It said `no' to a movement that did not bring it any achievements in the just struggle against the occupation, and it said "yes" to those who appeared to the voters to be braver and with clean hands...

Second, both Israelis and Palestinians can learn important lessons from the results of the election. The Israelis have to finally learn that applying force will not get the desired results...To that end, both sides, Israel and Hamas, must free themselves of the slogans of the past. Those who pose preconditions, like disarming Hamas, will miss the chance. It is impossible to expect that Hamas will disarm, just as it is impossible to expect that Israel would disarm. In Palestinian eyes, Hamas' weapons are meant to fight the occupation, and, as is well-known, the occupation is not over. Practically, and indeed morally, the armed are armed if they are equipped with F-16s or Qassam launchers. If Israel were to commit to an end to killing Hamas operatives, there is reason to assume that Hamas would agree, at least for a while, to lay down its arms…If Israel were to be friendly toward Hamas, it could benefit.

Anti-Zionist writer Uri Avnery and other ultra-leftists are already calling for "negotiations" with Hamas. It would not be surprising if some far-leftist Israeli professors and writers are already seeking audiences with Hamas leaders for "negotiations," reminiscent of the illegal talks the Left conducted with the PLO in the late 1980s, also in Oslo. (If so, it will be interesting to see if Hamas beheads any of them.)
One of the immediate issues that have come up on the Israeli domestic agenda is whether to turn 200 million shekels in funds over to the new Hamas government. Under Oslo, Israel is required to give the Palestinian Authority some receipts from Value Added Taxes and similar sources of revenue. Haaretz and the Left are demanding that Olmert hand the arrears over to Hamas immediately.  Olmert is also seriously considering letting Hamas terror leaders inside Syria and Jordan move to the West Bank or Gaza. The Likud Party under Benjamin Netanyahu is using this as an election issue against acting Prime Minister Olmert and his Kadima Party – although Likud, before the Kadima split, turned billions of dollars over to Palestinian terrorists.
Another immediate Israeli domestic issue is whether the Olmert government will go ahead with its plans to conduct a new expulsion of Jews this week, this time from homes in the commercial downtown street of Hebron and from an "illegal" West Bank settlement named Atzmona. Given the Hamas, making all further deals with "Palestine" impossible, will Olmert go ahead with the expulsions as new appeasements of a Palestinian Authority, now controlled by the open allies of bin Laden? Meanwhile, Amir Peretz, the new head of the Israeli Labor Party, has announced he will not be changing his party's agenda one iota: raising the minimum wage to increase Israeli unemployment and cutting defense spending to use for social welfare services are still at the top of Labor's agenda.
For years, Israeli politicians have placed Israel's right to exist up for negotiation. Since the 1980s, Israel's leaders gave up insisting Israel has the right to its land and that the Palestinians are not and never were a "people." (They were simply the local groups of Arabs who already controlled territory nearly twice the size of the United States.) Instead, the Israeli political elite adopted the rhetoric of those seeking Israel's annihilation, speaking about "Two States for Two People," and "legitimate representatives of the Palestinian nation." Israeli leftists hectored the country, telling Israelis that there was no peace with the Arab world, because Israelis did not desire it enough. Some went so far as to adopt the Arab world's terminology for Israel: "naqba" ("the catastrophe").
Now that Israel and the West have collaborated to empower Hamas and turn the reigns of power in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over to a terror organization, Israel's closest neighbor has joined in the debate about whether Israel has a right to exist, in the negative.
The expectation by Israel's leaders that the world will shun Hamas and refuse to fund it or talk with it is but the last in a series of delusions. By the spring, Israel will be under international pressure to make much larger gestures of goodwill to Hamas.
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Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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