18 June 2008

Israel and Hamas

It is interesting that when the focus or spotlight is on you in a bad way the easiest way to shift the spotlight is to demonize someone or something else. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, has been doing it tough of late with corruption scandals swirling all around him and with allegations surfacing of his direct involvement. Hence, the warning issued by Olmert that this cease fire or truce that is scheduled to come into force on Thursday is Hamas' last chance. It seems that if Hamas does not play ball and behave then Israel is prepared to strike deep into the heart of the Gaza Strip.

In the Israeli PM's own words, the people of Gaza are "pissed off with Hamas".

Now I am not pro-Hamas. In fact I have no problem with it being labeled an extreme and fundamentalist organization. The problem as I see it is that Hamas is now a democratically elected entity. The "West", and primarily the US, severely misunderstood the social and political dynamics when there was agreement to the idea of Hamas participating in Palestinian elections.

There seems little doubt that Hamas is anti-Israel and this means, in my mind at least, that any kind of truce will be short-lived. I just do not believe that Hamas has the sort of governance control it needs to reign in the militants and stop the rocket attacks. I hope I am wrong. I would love to see genuine peace in that part of the world in my life time. Yep, the eternal optimist!

The Israeli PM has close links to Australia and has family members living in Australia. In fact his cousin is married to the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and an aunt in Sydney.

The PM has grand plans of making peace with Lebanon and Syria. The plan even includes opening an Israeli Embassy in Damascus. Now this kind of peace would significantly change the geo-political dynamic of the region for the better. However, before any of these grand plans are likely to come to fruition the PM needs to survive the corruption allegations that by all accounts have two possible outcomes; resignation or new elections.

In any event there seems to be an open invitation to the Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, to visit Israel. This comes on the heals of the Australian Federal Parliament passing a resolution that commemorated Israel's first 60 years of existence in March of 2008.

Maybe I will write more on this Middle East stuff in the future because I am an opinionated bugger on this issue!


Polar Bear said...

Democracy involves much more than voting. It involves taking responsibility of the actions of those you vote for, making your feelings known about how they develop policies and respond to issues.

Hamas are paying a neat game right now. Goody two shoes, they squeal about the cordoning of Gaza, whilst covertly condoning the firing of missiles every night into Israel.

The Israelis must really rue the day they handed back Gaza.

But the real issue is the mentality of the Palestinians, who saw and act of grace from Israel as a military victory.

The Hitler Option: Destroy all the wells, water supplies, pipes etc. Poison the underground supplies. Turn Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape that families cannot survive in. Then shoot anything that moves in it. Not nice but effective.

Rob Baiton said...

I do not know that the Hitler option is the way to go!

Do I have an alternative -- still thinking about it!

Democracy is indeed much more than just voting. I am not saying that Hamas is for democracy. What I am saying is that they have been democratically elected through an electoral process that was deemed to be relatively free and fair.

My point was that the US and Israel underestimated the support that Hamas had and in that sense once you make your bed you have to sleep in it!

It was a bad call and now the question is how do you deal with Hamas -- as democratically elected representatives of the people or as the terrorist organization that they are still listed as being?

This for me is the dilemma!

Polar Bear said...

Hitler was democratically elected as well (albeit with only 37% of the national vote - April 10, 1932).

The only difference between the actions of a country led by a democratically elected leader and one with a despot is the degree of blame you can lay upon the citizens for the actions of the country.

Rob Baiton said...

Democratic elections and the electoral process affords some interesting results to occur such as people assuming office with a minority of the popular vote :D