April 23, 2014

Can #Hamas and the #PLO really kiss and make up?

Well, they say they can, the New York Times reports, noting that they've talked about it before and failed.

Related: should they? (That of course depends in part on who's asking that question.)

That said, politics, and political enemies, make strange bedfellows.

Given that Israeli prime minster Bibi Netanyahu is in bed with people in his cabinet that make him look halfway sane, it's no wonder that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have renewed unity government talks. And, this shouldn't have surprised either Israel or the US. Things like the PA (PLO) working to get officially accepted into more United Nations-affiliate organizations should have been a sign that the PA was tired of getting the back of the hand from the US as well as Israel.

This is yet another area where Dear Leader and both his current and previous foreign policy leaders, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, have been all talk and no show, except when the show's been to give the PA the back of the hand.

I have repeatedly blogged about this, like here, based on leaks to al-Jazeera and other things, where the US continually threatened to turn the financial screws on the PA unless it kowtowed to every Israeli demand. At the same time, Obama never threatened the foreign aid funding for Israel.

Say what else one will about Poppy Bush, I'll give him credit for being the only president in the last 30 years to link foreign aid to Israel to it not building settlements on the West Bank, that is, Palestine.

Of course, I still won't hold my breath too much. The Palestinians have long been their own worst enemies. At the same time, the fact that Egypt's new secular government is overseeing negotiations between Hamas and the PA means we shouldn't expect a guaranteed failure.

On the other hand, if this does pan out, the US will now have a Netanyahu who is even more foaming at the mouth than normal. And, a Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan willing to exploit this for domestic Turkish wag the dog reasons if nothing else. And, Bibi's intransigence, silently supported in Washington, is at root.

As for the "should," in a big picture sense? I don't want it to happen until Hamas officially rejects Holocaust denial, among other things. As for expecting jihad of some sort to make all of Israel and Palestine Muslim? I had a Lutheran seminary professor say that we ought to evangelize Muslims at the point of a gun then cut their heads off before they could reconvert, and this was a full decade before 9/11.

And, it was more than 2,000 years ago, but Google the two words of "Hasmoneans" and "Idumeans" or similar. Judaism, although much more rarely, has itself occasionally evangelized at the point of a sword.

Update, April 23: Israel has officially suspended talks.

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Related to all of this?

My ideal solution for Palestine would be:
1. Eliminate the Gaza Strip;
2. Give Palestine lands in the Negev in compensation;
3. Give Israel a decade to move people out of most of its settlements (the precise details of "most of" to be negotiated);
4. Without expecting a peace treaty, have a unified Palestine and Israel sign joint recognition documents, with the understanding that the PA and Israel will both likely want their equivalent of "presidential signing statements" as part of that;
5. Get the Saudis to give an under-the-table pledge to Israel that, unless it lurches further right, it will never be the target of a Saudi oil embargo.

And, now, I'll just crown myself as a more omnipotent version of John Rawls.

That said, Hamas has offered long-term truces to Israel before.

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