In retrospect, we cannot say much more about the Oslo accords than that they were an attempt at peace, a risky attempt, that failed. As much as I hate to admit it, they certainly failed, most spectacularly, when Palestinians broke the agreements after September 2000, and refused to accept the Clinton offer, adopted by the Israelis in December of 2000 or the Barak offer made in January of 2001 at Taba.
Ami Isseroff on 04.28.06 @ 05:13 PM CST [link]
A lot is written in the media about the new elected Hamas government and how to deal with them and what to expect from them. On pro-Israel websites and blogs one can find lots of bellicose quotes from Hamas leaders that show clearly that their intention is ongoing 'resistance' until all of 'historical Palestine' is liberated. Also the Hamas Charter, that is full of the worst anti-Semitic statements, is quoted frequently. Most of the mainstream and liberal press carries a more positive message, cites moderate statements also made by Hamas leaders and believes that Hamas could play an important role in peace if it is only given a little time to transform itself into a responsible political party. Unfortunately, there is a lot of wishful thinking in most of these articles.
In The Australian, Middle East correspondent Martin Chulov 'explains' why Hamas could not do otherwise than support last weeks suicide attack in Tel Aviv, and in fact, didn't really support it.
The bloody chaos in downtown Tel Aviv on Monday was not what the recently elected Hamas Government of the Palestinian territories wanted, and certainly not what it needed. Israel and the West already had Hamas squirming before Monday's suicide bombing. Now they have a choke-hold on the militant group turned Government.
The Tel Aviv attack was a "now what?" moment for Hamas. It chose, for now, to stick to its old ways, with spokespeople and junior ministers describing the bloodshed as "self-defence and a natural response to the Israeli occupation". But the Hamas power base in Gaza was privately saying late in the week that it had no other option.
The strike was carried out in the name of the Palestinian resistance by a West Bank cell of fellow militants, Islamic Jihad. Condemning it would have courted mutiny among the militants and ordinary Palestinians who elected Hamas. Condoning it caused just as much trouble, from a much bigger audience. Israel was quick to turn Hamas's lack of sympathy into a crippling diplomatic blow on two fronts. Israel's cabinet announced it would rescind the Israeli citizenship of four Hamas MPs in the Palestinian Legislative Council, who represent Israeli Arabs and live in Israel.
If Chulov is right, it means that the majority of Palestinians who voted for Hamas did so (besides other motives) because they oppose peace and a two-state solution and that is the real problem. If Hamas' policy is dictated by militants on the street, than there is no reason for optimism anyway.
Ratna Pelle on 04.28.06 @ 05:02 AM CST [link]