Monday, March 17, 2008

HAMAS AND THE IRA - A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

It's St. Patrick's Day and the topic of conversation is whether the Israelis should talk with Hamas in the same way as the British and the IRA eventually resolved their conflict by peaceful means after negotiation.

This is the argument against as put by Israel's ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony - Hamas is not the IRA.

"While there are some similarities between these two complex and protracted conflicts, and indeed some lessons can be learned, it is a dangerous exercise to conclude that they are the same because of their largely different historical, geopolitical and cultural circumstances. Especially, the different importance attached to religious beliefs in the IRA's and Hamas's political platforms ...

"Such expectation is rooted in the assumption that when two parties with diametrically opposing views engage in a dialogue, the dynamic created changes the chemistry of the conflict, moderates the positions of both sides and makes a compromise possible. Although this theory may be valid in some cases, unfortunately it is not in the case of Hamas."

1 comment:

Ron said...

The similarity between the partition of Ireland and the partition of Palestine under the British Mandate is that partition was made according to the majority of the people living there. Hence Southern Ireland (Eire, now Ireland) with a Catholic majority, Northern Ireland under a Protestant majority; Israel under a Jewish majority, the rest under an Arab majority.

The difference between the IRA and Hamas, both of which are in the business of "liberation", is in their aims and ultimate goals. The IRA, which carried out a vicious campaign of terror against civilians in Protestant areas of Northern Ireland, did not do so in order to wipe out as many civilians as they could. It was not, in other words, a campaign against Protestants as such, but as a way of getting at the Government. They certainly did not deny the Protestants the right to exist, which is why they agreed to speak to the Government of Northern Ireland and why the Government agreed to speak to them. And they agreed to speak, even though the status quo regarding the land was preserved.

In Israel, on the other hand, Hamas continued attacking Israel and its citizens despite the fact that Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza! In other words, Hamas got what it wanted. Now was the time, one would have thought, for Hamas to build up the land that was free of occupation. Yet attacks continue.

So what is there to talk about? Israel's withdrawing from the West Bank so that Hamas can attack Israel from there? After all, the example of Gaza is there for all to see.

Once the IRA recognised the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland Government, there was somethinmg to talk about. When Hamas does the same regarding the legitimacy of Israel, then conditions will be right. Until then, there is nothing to talk about apart from Israel's suicide, and for that talking is unnecessary.