Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hamas as a Partner for Peace: No More Terrorism?

Continuing on the theme of Hamas as a partner for peace, Udi Dekel, director of Israel Defense Force’s Strategic Planning Division, indicated that, were Hamas to win the January elections, they would modify their present terror strategy. Further, he indicates that if terror attacks would continue, they would be more “low profile”, with Hamas giving instructions to be carried out by smaller terrorist organizations.

Dekel is banking on Hamas’ need to be seen as a legitimate negotiator by the international community. But is this what we can really expect, or wishful thinking of a Sharon government who is recognizing the possibility of loosing the best partner in peace they’ve had in 40 years?

I’ve talked about Hamas’ potential role in the peace process before, and I want to emphasize again Hamas has not won this election, and I’m not so sure they will win in January. But if they win the election, I do not agree with Dekel at all; I suspect that Hamas will use terror as a tactic in pushing their objectives in the peace negotiations. And this terror will continue until the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem are returned to the Palestinian people, regardless of agreements reached along the way.

While Hamas may have long pauses between some of their attacks, Hamas leadership is smart enough to recognize how to use terror, including the absence of terror and the threat of terror, as negotiating tactics. And as Hamas campaigns actively on the PA having lost their bargaining chips by abandoning any military stance, I doubt Hamas will make the same mistakes (if they are mistakes) as the Palestinian Authority has made.

The PA links their present strategy to the need for international recognition, especially in the form of membership in the United Nations. Palestine has never been a member of the UN, which has prevented the Palestinians from trumpeting their own case for years. And most Palestinian leaders believe that, were Palestine a member of the UN, Israel would have long ago been prevented from committing what the Palestinians see as atrocities to the Palestinian people as a whole.

But Hamas has a voice in the UN. Hamas is Syrian backed, and Syria is a powerful player in the UN. While this is not the same as Palestine having membership, it is still a voice that can speak for Palestine’s causes in the UN, still a voice that can trumpet the Palestinian cause.

And with their ties to Syria, as well as strong ties to leaders of other Muslim nations (who have financed Hamas’ operations for years), I would suspect that Hamas wil do their best to maintain the support of the Muslim community, as opposed to the world community. And that may, and probably will, include militant actions.

Posted by Scottage at 1:58 AM / | |