Does the Road to Peace Run Through Hamas?

Jimmy_carter Chuck Colson has an important and timely commentary today about the vulnerability of Israel. Important because it discusses the extensive ramifications of a rash decision to withdraw from Iraq. And timely because it directly contradicts this week's actions and statements by former President Jimmy Carter, who has apparently taken it upon himself to conduct "peace talks" with Hamas leaders.

More telling than Carter's questionable decision, however, are the words of a Hamas founder and foreign minister, which were published in the Washington Post (along with an appropriately stern editorial rebuttal). Mahmoud al-Zahar lambastes violence by Israel but ignores or justifies the atrocities of his own organization. He claims a desire for negotiations without preconditions, but then creates a list of demands that must be met.

Such distortions seem to par for the course in Middle East politics, but whatever President Carter's intentions, we don't gain anything by playing along.

(Image © AFP)


Does the road to peace run through Hamas? If driving a tracked vehicle.
What disturbs me is that I can identify the uniform of the Israeli Army, but...
Is the UN's record of where Israel ranks in human rights really to be taken seriously?
What is a "Palestinian"? Prior to WWI there was no such thing as a Palestinian people, language, culture, or national identify. Up to 75% of the population of Jordan is Palestinian. Thus the "Palestinian homeland" so yearned for has existed right next door to Israel for decades. The biggest crime is the unflinching refusal of the Arabic Muslim neighbors to assimilate the "refugees" into their society. This is by intent, to keep alive the resentment against the establishment of modern Israel. Either our politicians say what they have to say for diplomatic reasons (not an unreasonable approach) or they are ignorant. Jimmy Carter long ago forfeited the right to be taken seriously.
Vulnerability can mean different things, can't it? For instance, Israel places number 26 in the world on the UN's human development index--just a little below New Zealand and just a little above Singapore. The PLA places way down at number 106, just below Vietnam and a little above Turkmenistan. What does it mean? It means that a typical citizen of Israel is *way* richer, better educated, and healthier than a typical Palestinian living in the West Bank or Gaza. So in a sense the Palestinians are a lot more vulnerable than the Israelites. The saddest thing for me is not the way in which U.S. foreign policy has ongoingly contributed to the really sad plight of the Palestinians. The saddest thing for me is that so many American Christians so stronlgy support a policy that says "Jews are ... more valuable than Palestinians", especially since there are many Christians among the Palestinians. One would hope that Christians would be able to rise above their nationalistic biases on the whole controversy and as people who are ultimately citizens of the altogether just Kingdom of God, love both the Palestinians and the Jews equally. Of course to some extent I am homogenizing the outgroup here in talking about "that group of American Christians which choose to side with Israel vs. Palestine". But I think a case can me made that there *is* a large such group here in the U.S., and even that the group encompasses a majority of American Christians. The *feeling* of Chuck's commentary certainly seems to place him in such a group, although I'm perfectly willing to be corrected on his actual views =)

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