Saturday, December 15, 2007

200,000 Turn Out To Support Hamas

An estimated 200,000 people gathered in Gaza to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the terrorist organization that gained control of the region six months ago. (New York Times: Gazans Show Allegiance for Hamas.) The terrorist group was created by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and the Hamas charter written in 1988 still calls for the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic State. The region Hamas seeks to control is comprised of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

The rally, intended to demonstrate public support for the terrorist group, also shows why a peace accord between Israel and the various Palestinian groups is simply not possible. Hamas gained control in the Palestinian government through free elections and is still extremely popular in the region due in no small part to their anti-Israeli agenda. The slogan displayed in Central Gaza City read, "We will not recognize Israel" but Hamas actually seeks much more. They seek, as previously stated, the complete destruction of Israel.

The same sentiment is prevalent in other nations throughout the Middle East. Saudi Arabia won't even refer to Israel by name, referring only to "that Zionist entity." At the recent Middle East summit hosted by the United States, Saudi Arabia only agreed to attend after stating emphatically that they will not publicly shake hands with any Israeli official. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has openly called for the destruction of Israel on many occasions.

As long as there are regional anti-Israeli terrorist groups that have the full backing of nations such as Iran and Syria peace in the region is not possible. This is especially the case when those same terrorist groups also enjoy wide public support as is true with both Hamas and Hezbollah.

For some unfortunate reason, brokering a peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has become a bell weather issue in American politics. Every administration since Carter has sought to broker a peace in the region and all of them have come up empty. Perhaps now is the time to rethink the entire concept. Hedging our political bets on peace in a region that has had none for the last 3000 years is folly at best.

It's time to walk away from the process. There are fundamental issues between even the rational elements in Israel and the Palestinians that will prohibit any long-term peace. When you factor in the radical elements of Hamas, Hezbollah, and some of the more extreme elements in Israel, it quickly becomes obvious that no treaty will ever work. At least, not so long as those elements exist.

There comes a time when you must recognize that the only solution is to allow two diametrically opposed groups to fight it out. When it comes to Israel and the Palestinians we've reached that point. It's time for us to step out of the ring and allow them to hold the no-holds-barred match that has been simmering since the late 1960s. Whichever side emerges victorious is the one we'll recognize and deal with. At this point, however, I'm no longer willing to waste good American tax dollars trying to broker a peace that isn't possible. Let's step aside, let them fight it out, and the treat with the winner. This one is no longer worth our attention.

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