Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I didn't really mean it. Let's be friends

From Jeremy Bowen's recent article about Hamas post-Johnston.

And there is Israel, which controls Gaza's borders, its airspace and its sea coast.

At least six Hamas members were killed in an Israeli raid into Gaza the night after Alan Johnston was released.

Most Israelis regard Hamas as a terror organisation that would destroy their state if it could.

Regarding the final sentence, Norm points out the obvious objection, unstated by Bowen, that Hamas's own charter demands the destruction of Israel. Not only that, Hamas is a terror organisation. If you recruit, equip and send off suicide bombers, you are engaged in terrorism. So the final relative clause should read, "that will destroy their state if it can". Nor does Bowen give any context to the second sentence; he doesn't say that Israel's raids are a response to the daily rocket attacks on Sderot and other Israeli towns.

The thrust of the article is given, as usual, by quoting someone else.

The mood was summed up in the final despatch sent back to the UN by its Middle East envoy, Alvaro De Soto, before he retired earlier this summer.

He wrote that Hamas "can potentially evolve in a pragmatic direction that would allow for a two-state solution - but only if handled right".

Perhaps De Soto didn't mean it this way, but as quoted here and given the tenor of the rest of the article, it sounds like it really is all up to us. That Hamas just can't wait to hucker down with its neighbours and allow everyone to live their lives as they wish, the evidence for this being that they had Alan Johnston released.

If we have learned nothing else in the last 6 years, it is that the Islamist gangs understood long ago that the real war is fought in the media. Civilian massacres in Iraq and Afghanistan are timed for television news; Pallywood is a flourishing industry and the brothers in Lebanon showed last summer that they had learnt all the tricks of the trade.

So I ask, apart from Alan Johnston, what else have Hamas done to show that they would be amenable to influence? Could it be that their concern for the BBC reporter was really that he was ... a BBC reporter, and therefore ideal leverage on one of the most influential news organisations in the world, one that has shown a certain partiality for the Palestinian viewpoint in the past and continues (witness this article) to do so now? Don't we need just a little bit more from them? Or am I just cynical?

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