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Looking for Signposts on the Roadmap to Peace ^ | 8/10/03 | netWMD

Posted on 08/10/2003 1:35:28 AM PDT by forty_years

Looking for Signposts on the Roadmap to Peace
By Andrew L. Jaffee, August 10, 2003
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Hamas supporters are upset because Israelis are defending themselves. The Associated Press (AP) reported today that:

Clamoring for revenge, thousands of Hamas supporters Saturday buried two militants killed in an Israeli raid, and a senior Palestinian official urged the United States to intervene to prevent the unraveling of a six-week-old truce.

The militants and an Israeli soldier were killed Friday when troops raided a bomb lab in a West Bank refugee camp, sparking a gunbattle. A Palestinian stone-thrower also was killed by troops.

I added emphasis to the phrase, "raided a bomb lab," to the quote above. Poor Hamas militants are making bombs during what they themselves call a "ceasefire." Some Palestinians are using the Arabic term "hudna" to describe this so-called "ceasefire." According to The Australian:

A ceasefire – or hudna, as it is known in Arabic – is regarded in Islamic tradition not as a first step towards peace but as a tactical pause during which the faithful can build up their strength for the next round in the confrontation, Israeli officials believe.

Likewise, from Truth News:

Israel fears that the 'hudna' - an Arab/Islamic concept, which is non-binding when applied to non-Muslims could provide the Palestinian terror infrastructure with an opportunity to re-arm and prepare for fresh attacks in the future.

Nonetheless, Israel has swallowed this "ceasefire," probably because of pressure from the U.S. The Jewish State has withdrawn from Gaza, released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, and has even dismantled several illegal settlements in the West Bank.

So is Israel compromising too much--and getting too little in return? After the disasterous Oslo "peace process," one would think Israel would not want to make any concessions to the Palestinians. When one considers the rhetoric of various Arab personalities, one would only conclude that Palestinians have no intention of making peace.

For example, in June 2001,

...Palestinian television broadcast a sermon in a Gaza mosque in which the imam, Ibrahim Madi, made the following statement: "God willing, this unjust state Israel will be erased; this unjust state the United States will be erased; this unjust state Britain will be erased."

I should note that Gaza is where Hamas is based. According to the BBC, Hamas

...has a long-term aim of establishing an Islamic state on all of historic Palestine - most of which has been contained within Israel's borders since its creation in 1948.

Up to 40,000 people rallied in Gaza in December 2002 to mark Hamas' 15th anniversary where they heard the group's blind and paralysed spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, predict Israel's destruction by the year 2025.

"The march of martyrs will move forward... Resistance will move forward. Jihad will continue, and martyrdom operations will continue until the full liberation of Palestine," he said...

Hamas political leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi told the BBC in 2002, "It is forbidden in our religion to give up a part of our land, so we can't recognise Israel at all. But we can accept a truce with them, and we can live side by side and refer all the issues to the coming generations."

"...refer all the issues to the coming generations." This is pure sophistry, and code-speak for, "We'll take a break now for political expediency, and destroy Israel when we can."

So what is going on with the current "road-map" for peace, particularly with Hamas? Some observers see a grudging acceptance--even by hardcore Hamas--of the reality of Israel's existence. Again, Abdel Aziz Rantissi:

"The main aim of the intifada (uprising) is the liberation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and nothing more. We haven't the force to liberate all our land."

From today's Guardian:

The group's [Hamas'] leaders, however, stopped short of saying the incident would wreck a cease-fire declared June 29 by Hamas and other militant groups...

Palestinian Cabinet minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said Saturday that Hamas "promised it will not respond to the Israeli attacks."

And again from Truth News:

Speaking to reporters in Gaza City late Tuesday night, Abu Shanab the most moderate of the terror group's five top leaders conceded that Hamas couldn't destroy Israel but may be able to live alongside the Jewish State in peace.

"What is the point in speaking in rhetoric," said Abu Shanab, "lets be frank, we cannot destroy Israel. The practical solution is for us to have a state along side Israel."...

Noting that a future Palestinian state will not be one to replace Israel "but one that lives with it," Abu Shanah admitted it could face destruction in a full-scale war against Israel. "Israel's balance of power is much greater than the whole Arab world combined. It is strong enough to make for stability for the rest of our lives, and beyond that as well," he said.

I personally don't trust groups like Hamas at all. But since Abu Mazen became Palestinian Prime Minister, and most Palestinian terrorist groups have signed on to the "hudna," terrorism against Israelis has dried up, for the most part. From a BBC article on Thursday:

The Israeli Interior Minister, Avraham Poraz, told the BBC that the releases would continue, in recognition of the progress made by the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, in reducing violence...

Speaking on the BBC's Newshour programme Mr Poraz said that the goodwill gesture had been made in order to boost the position of Abu Mazen.

"We have seen since he's been in power that he was capable of stopping the terrorists, not totally, but partially and we have a sort of ceasefire right now," he said.

Initially, I was very hopeful about Abu Mazen, but I've calmed down and become more pragmatic. I can't deny that things have been relatively quiet in the Holy Land recently. I can't deny that Saddam's defeat has shaken up the Middle East. I'm just not going to celebrate until I see more successes (and real concessions from the Palestinians).

Looking at the Northern Ireland peace process helps me--a little. Things have been quiet there, and I believe there's been true movement towards peace. Similarly, I hope the current Middle East "road-map" can gain momentum, and not just be another flash in the pan.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: attacked; bomb; by; factory; hamas; israel; makers; making; palestinians; peace; roadmap
I just don't trust Hamas.
1 posted on 08/10/2003 1:35:29 AM PDT by forty_years
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