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Monday, June 9, 2008

Talking to Hamas

Buried in the New York Times today is a brief report that the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah met over the weekend in Dakar, Senegal to try to mend fences and end their violent conflict. The United States, of course, is a major backer of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, a leader of Fatah. The U.S.-Israel strategy has been to isolate and demonize Hamas, despite that organization's considerable support among Palestinians--support that has steadily increased because the U.S. and Israel have not given Abbas the peace deal he would need to seal his legitimacy.

A rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah would be great for the Palestinians, but I doubt it is something that Israeli leaders would welcome. After all, violent opposition by Palestinians to the ongoing occupation and oppression by Israel is the best excuse Israel has to continue its occupation and oppression, as both Palestinians and Israelis should have realized long ago. Sad to say, it has taken two intifadas to get the world to take Palestinian grievances seriously, and without Palestinian violence Israel would have annexed the West Bank and Gaza by now. But those who condemn that violence must do everything they can to insure that there is no reason for it.

PS--Will those who oppose talking to Hamas or other "enemies" condemn Fatah for doing it? If Hamas and Fatah mend fences will Bush, McCain, and even Obama criticize Abbas? Somehow I doubt it, but one never knows.

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