Monday, August 30, 2010

Ali Abunimah Gets His Irish Up

Two days ago, The New York Times--which has already printed op-eds by Hamas terrorists--this time featured an op-ed by Ali Abunimah: Hamas, the I.R.A. and Us. Who is Ali Abunimah? If you go to the end of the editorial, you will find out that "Ali Abunimah is the author of  One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse." He is also a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, for which he is better known. I'm not sure why they left that out.

On The Electronic Intifada, Abunimah indulges in single-minded demagoguery. For instance, he takes the recent Lebanese ambush of Israel and divine nefarious implications:

Despite the incessant war-mongering by Israel over the past few months, the killing of one of its high-ranking officers -- a colonel -- did not translate into a massive offensive the same way Hizballah's capturing of two Israeli soldiers did in July 2006. This clearly undermines arguments blaming Hizballah for starting the July 2006 war. Wars are rarely improvisational affairs. Specific incidents are almost always pretexts rather than triggers of war. Israel was ready and eager to go to war in 2006. In spite of its rhetoric, this time Israel was not.[emphasis added]
Yet in the very next sentence, he contradicts and disproves his point:
Another feature of this latest clash that instigated a circus of political posturing in Lebanon, Israel and the United States was the fact that the army, rather than Hizballah, was the party engaging the Israelis.
That is exactly the point: there is a difference between operations initiated by the Lebanese Army and those initiated by Hezbollah.

Now take a look at Abunimah in the New York Times op-ed. He wants to compare the current peace talks with those that took place with Ireland:
Success in the Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy.
The difference, claims Abunimah, is that the key to the Irish talks was that all parties were involved--and
No serious analyst believes that peace can be made between Palestinians and Israelis without Hamas on board, any more than could have been the case in Northern Ireland without Sinn Fein and the I.R.A.
One problem with such a claim is that it is contradicted by the fact that the Hamas Charter itself clearly states its refusal to negotiate peace:
The so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad.
This is a fact not alluded to by Abunimah--a fact that ties directly to the fact that the similarity between the Irish peace talks and the Mideast peace talks is actually greater than Abunimah will be willing to admit.

Back in 2001, the then British Secretary of State Jack Straw noted the true lesson of Northern Ireland for how to deal with Hamas:
Joint Press Availability with British Secretary of State of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Jack Straw
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
October 24, 2001

...QUESTION: Secretary Powell, does the situation in Northern Ireland not show us all that negotiations is really the only way forward in all of these situations? And just secondly, when you met Martin McGuinness yesterday, did he give you assurances that there is no link between the IRA and the FARC guerillas in Colombia?

SECRETARY POWELL: We didn't, when I met with him yesterday, we didn't discuss that. We were just sort of celebrating the progress that was achieved yesterday. And I think negotiations are always to be preferred to military conflict, and even when you have military conflict, it doesn't always result in the kind of classic military win. Very often, it sets the stage for negotiations.

And so I hope what we have seen in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours, which culminates a process that took many, many years long to get to this point, is an example of what can be achieved when people of good will come together, recognize they have strong differences, differences that they have fought over for years, but it's time to put those differences aside in order to move forward and to provide a better life for the children of Northern Ireland.

FOREIGN MINISTER STRAW: Could I just add one thing to that, if I may? Of course, negotiation is far, far better -- infinitely better -- than military action. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we welcome hugely the progress that has been made following the Good Friday Agreement. It also has to be said that before that happened, there had to be a change of approach by those who saw terrorism as the answer. And that approach partly changed because of the firmness of the military and police response to that terrorism. And if there had not been that firm response by successive British governments and others to the terrorist threat that was posed on both sides, we would not have been able to get some of those people into negotiations. We would not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today. 
Jack Straw did not see rewarding terrorism as the answer for bringing about true peace.
It was not the answer then.
It is not the answer now.

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