Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Efraim Halevy: Talk With Hamas

I've discussed in the past the generally ambiguous nature that the definitive term "terrorist" entails and how maintaining such a homogeneous definition leads to homogeneous principles and policy in various instances when dynamic understanding would be better served. In other words, amassing and then pigeon-holing elements into a politically convenient package ("terrorists") presents not a greater ability to deal with these elements, rather a restrictive corral within which we must deal with them. (PKK might be an example)

Hamas is an example of this wanton waving of a broad brush and the blowback such restrictive policy delivers.

The 2006 Palestinian elections had, as a geopolitical preamble of sorts, the glowing expectations of Sec. State Rice, Pres. Carter and an international collective of some 80 international observers. Democracy in the PA was to be a step from the shadow of the recently deceased Yassar Arafat and into a new age in which a two state solution would be... Set back a tad.

The polls rolled in and the party-elect horrified western observers who, apparently, had little knowledge of the socio-economic condition of the Palestinian territories. Put simply, Fatah's legacy of corruption was waylaid by one element of the Hamas trifecta which includes; political element, military element (jihad) and social services (dawa.) The latter served to empower Hamas. The providence of basic infrastructure and security was at the forefront of Palestinian voters and the ideology of the party to rule seemd, at best, a secondary consideration or of little consequence what so ever.
The west reacted in a manner (cos' terrorists were in control) that further alienated the new and apparently "moderate" Fatah and so we see not an already complicated Two State Solution but an incredibly complicated possibility of a Three State Solution as the western financial shun appears to have served a galvanizing factor for Hamas in Gaza.

And so when I read recent Mossad Chief, Efraim Halevy's take on Hamas, I thought, "Finally!"

Mother Jones: Mr. Halevy, in your memoir you make clear your belief that Europe, and to a lesser extent the United States, have not fully come to terms with the national security threats posed by Islamic militancy and terrorism. Yet you've also said it would be a grave mistake for the West to treat all Islamist terrorist groups the same way, and argued that Israel should have some sort of process for talking with Hamas. If the West, led by Washington, continues to shun Hamas as an illegitimate terrorist group, do you see a risk that the group could take on a more nihilistic type of violence, a la al Qaeda?

Efraim Halevy: Hamas is not al Qaeda and, indeed, al Qaeda has condemned them time and time again. Hamas may from time to time have tactical, temporary contact with al Qaeda, but in essence they are deadly adversaries. The same goes for Iran. Hamas receives funds, support, equipment, and training from Iran, but is not subservient to Tehran. A serious effort to dialogue indirectly with them could ultimately drive a wedge between them.

Any solution won't be born of simplistic idealism, rather it will require a sobering realistic recognition of the matters at hand that paves the way to reconciliation.

Criticism and commentary is encouraged.


G said...

this is a good post soob.

I'll have to find a paper on the philosophy of science i read a few months back, and send it to you. From memory, it was how arguing over specific methodological definitions had no real bearing on how actual science is conducted, scientists go on with or without ever really caring about specific definitions. The writers speculated this would fall into many fields. I'll have to find the paper and send it to you.

Jay@Soob said...

Thanks. Looking forward to it.