Global, Israel, Politics

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown…

For the times, they are a-changin’.  Obama Schmobama, here’s some more change for you reported in Ha’aretz.
Ismail Hanyieh, yeah, that Ismail Hanyieh, the leader of Hamas has announced Saturday that the organization will accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.  Uhm, what now?  Come again?

11 European parliamentarians sailed from Cyprus to Gaza and met with Haniyeh, in a meeting with them he stated that he had made the proposal to Israel, which it rejected.  According to the report, “Clare Short, who served in the cabinet of former British prime minister Tony Blair, asked Haniyeh to repeat his offer.”
A week or so before the election Al Qaeda and Hamas both issued endorsements to the campaign.  Al Qaeda, which endorsed Bush in ’04, told its supporters via websites that it was hoping for a McCain victory–clearly this would aid recruitment efforts.  Hamas, on the other hand, issued its message that it was hoping for an Obama victory.  When I heard this, I said to people that this meant something very significant, it seems that Al Qaeda is planning for war and Hamas is planning for peace.
When asked about ties with Iran and the belief that both Iran and Hamas seek to destroy Israel and Jews, Haniyeh said, “Our ties with Iran are like those with other Muslim states. Does a besieged people that is waiting breathlessly for a ship to come from the sea want to throw the Jews into the ocean? Our conflict is not with the Jews, our problem is with the occupation.”

I have no illusions , I’m not particularly supportive of Mr. Obama’s politics and policies, per se.  But I find it riveting that there is a wave of happiness fanning across the globe.  I’ve seen images and videos of people dancing around the world, Iran has diplomatically reached out its hand in what may be the first significant manner since 1979.  the NYT has a piece with highlights from Arab blogs, people are excited.
This news from Hamas is huge, and, well, exciting.  I assume this will have a big effect on the upcoming Israeli elections.  Obama sits in the Oval Office a few weeks before the next Israeli PM is elected.  With Hamas’ recent about-face, this postures Hamas in a place to make significant claim towards authority in the West Bank.  It will be very interesting to see what happens in Hamas makes a gesture towards Mr. Obama.

8 thoughts on “Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown…

  1. “He said the Hamas government had agreed to accept a Palestinian state that followed the 1967 borders and to offer Israel a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians’ national rights. ”
    So no recognition, just offering more of a cease-fire…
    “A Palestinian state will not be created AT THIS TIME except in the territories of 1967.” (emphasis added)
    This is NOT a change in Hamas policy – Khaled Mashal said the exact same thing in his interview with CNN a number of months ago.
    When Hamas is ready to say, ‘f Israel pulls out of the territories ,than the war will be over – permanently – and we recognize it as a Jewish state,’ then please, quote some more Bob Dylan.

  2. A Dylan quote does seem apt (as usual). Sadly, though, when we’re talking about Hamas, I think Israel is more seen as the Neighborhood Bully:
    Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
    His enemies say he’s on their land.
    They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
    He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
    He’s the neighborhood bully.
    The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
    He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
    He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
    He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
    He’s the neighborhood bully.

  3. Certainly, 25 years is a long time in political machinations, and particularly so in Israel. Yet, from the point of view of Hamas, I can’t think of a song that is more appropriate.

  4. Perhaps it’s time for Israel to really push for a hudna with Hamas, that will further along the process of establishing the two-state paradigm.
    An armistice agreement (while less desirable than an end-of-conflict treaty) will enable the removal of most West Bank settlements, and it could end, to much extent, the moral, diplomatic, and security burdens that have occupanied holding millions of Palestinian under martial law for 40 years.
    Among the benefits would be that Israel might be able to return to building the type of society that was emerging until we went off track in the 1970’s.
    Even more, it might begin the process of internal healing in the Jewish world, a process that would help as we face other existential threats, for instance the likely nuclearization of this regime in Iran…
    and the presumptive pressure we will receive from the new American administration to make a deal with Syria, and thereby returning us to the policy that got the West into much of this mess in the first place–turning “bad” dictators into “moderate” ones.

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