Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Those Pushing For Diplomacy Between Israel And Hamas Forget The Secret Ingredient

When people argue that Israel and Hamas need to negotiate and make peace, they sometimes draw comparisons between Hamas and the IRA:

It is not an unexpected sentiment.

Those negotiations led to the Good Friday Agreement in 2001, where the Irish Republican Army agreed to begin disarming. It was an amazing achievement.

CNN interviewed Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Powell praised the agreement, saying it "shows what can happen when one remains persistent and is determined to solve what appear to be intractable problems." Midway through the press conference, the topic of Israel came up.

The final question was, "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?" Israel was not mentioned, but it clearly was on everyone's mind.

Powell responded:

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.

Very...tactful. He praised both the participants and the diplomatic process in general.

But Straw got in the last word:

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 negotiation, and we'd not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today.

Before diplomacy could work, terrorism had to be defeated and those who practiced it had to reject it. And for that to happen, military force was necessary.

And terrorism still needs to be rejected. A diplomatic approach won't suffice.

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, made this point in his Victory Project. He wrote in 2017 that Israel needs "to indicate to the Palestinians that this conflict, this war that they have been engaged in for a century, is over. And they lost. And they've got to recognize it." He describes a plan of deterrence that goes beyond tough tactics:

When Palestinian “martyrs” cause material damage, pay for repairs out of the roughly $300 million in tax obligations the government of Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) each year. Respond to activities designed to isolate and weaken Israel internationally by limiting access to the West Bank. When a Palestinian attacker is killed, bury the body quietly and anonymously in a potter’s field. When the PA leadership incites violence, prevent officials from returning to the PA from abroad. Respond to the murder of Israelis by expanding Jewish towns on the West Bank. When official PA guns are turned against Israelis, seize these and prohibit new ones, and if this happens repeatedly, dismantle the PA’s security infrastructure. Should violence continue, reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies. In the case of gunfire, mortar shelling, and rockets, occupy and control the areas from which these originate.

Israel has used some of these suggestions, such as subtracting from the tax money that goes to the PA in response to Abbas's pay-to-slay program. And in light of the Hamas massacre of October 7, Israel may consider stricter measures, both in terms of Gaza and the West Bank. The measures themselves are not purely punitive. Their goal is deterrence and ultimately to show the Palestinian Arabs that they have lost.

That would be the opposite of the approach of the Dalai Lama to the terrorist attack of 9-11:

How to respond to such an attack is a very difficult question. Of course, those who are dealing with the problem may know better, but I feel that careful consideration is necessary and that it is appropriate to respond to an act of violence by employing the principles of nonviolence.
The Dalai Lama (YouTube screenshot)

And yet even here, he leaves some wiggle room for a stronger, harsher approach:

Of course, in particular instances a more aggressive approach may also be necessary.
Two years later, the Dalai Lama raised eyebrows when the New York Times reported, Dalai Lama Says Terror May Need a Violent Reply

The Dalai Lama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the world's most prominent advocates of nonviolence, said in an interview yesterday that it might be necessary to fight terrorists with violence...
He goes on to say that ''terrorism is the worst kind of violence, so we have to check it, we have to take countermeasures" and even suggests, at the time, that it was ''too early to say'' whether the war in Iraq was a mistake. 

In 2009, the Dalai Lama was still saying the same thing:

The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence on Saturday candidly stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa [non-violence] because the minds of terrorists are closed.

And if the minds of terrorists are closed, then as Jack Straw suggested, military force is necessary, and as Daniel Pipes says, you have to convince them that they have lost.

Who knows? Maybe even Biden understands that to a degree. In an interview following his State of the Union Address, Biden was asked when Hamas really wants a ceasefire:

Biden admits the futility of a ceasefire and acknowledges that Hamas will use the opportunity to rearm itself for more attacks -- before pausing and going back to attacking Israel, with an outlandish accusation that it is carpet-bombing Gaza, consistent with his unquestioning acceptance of Hamas's exaggerated number of casualties.

If Hamas is allowed to live to fight another day -- it will.
The fact remains -- Israel will not win unless Hamas loses.


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