Friday, February 03, 2006

A couple of things...

A couple of things, then I'll post my Hamas column which will (as far as I know) be appearing in next week's yet again, it's a 'read it before you can, uh, read it' post.
Anyway, for those wanting to know, as of today I have not received a response from, nor was my email concerning the O'Reilly bumper sticker mentioned on the air.
Thanks for those weighing in on the abortion issue. I appreciate comments and feedback, even when I do not (an never will) agree with what is said. That's the beauty of America I guess.
Finally, a few quick words which do not appear in the column I am about to post. I did not discuss the biblical aspect of the issue with Hamas. My political science professor said, "we don't need to worry about Israel. We don't need to be involved in anything that happens there. Israel should handle this themselves and they'll probably be just fine." Well, I don't believe that entirely. While Israel could handle everything unilaterally, it is not in America's interest to take that position. Secondly, I think a friend of mine said it best when he said, "What she doesn't understand is that Israel isn't taking care of itself. God is taking care of Israel. It's not a matter of 'they'll probably be just fine.' They WILL be just fine. Nobody can defeat Israel because they are the chosen ones." That's a good point. We have a biblical obligation to side with Israel and to work to protect God's chosen people.
Anyway, I just wanted to mention that because I did not say anything about the Bible in my column (unfortunately, if I had I would have been written off and I wouldn't have been read because, after all, the 'Bible is just a story...' People who say that scare me...) . So without further explanation, here it is...
The recent election of Hamas as the dominant leader in Palestinian politics has left many awed and wandering how world leaders across the globe will deal with the organization many consider to be deeply rooted in terrorism. The so called ‘quartet’ (Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations) are all working diligently to seek the best possible approach to dealing with the group.
Hamas has a history of terrorist activity specifically targeted at their Mid-Eastern neighbors, Israel. Specifically, Hamas has called for death to Israel and celebrated their recent victory by shooting automatic weapons in the air, something not typically associated with the democratic process. On a website claiming to be maintained by and representative of the group, a quote appears by a Muslim cleric saying, "Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it." The prospect of dealing with people wrapped in a hateful ideology such as this is somewhat terrifying and leaves world leaders in a bit of a predicament.
Debate regarding just how the US will handle this situation is already underway and there are certainly valid arguments for and against each approach to the delicate situation. Some call for full recognition of the terrorist organization, including continued diplomatic association and continued aid. Others have expressed concerns for what implications such recognition may bring and instead advocate complete severance of ties between the United States and the Palestinians. Such severance could, and once used more than likely will, have huge impacts on the small nation. An article from The Washington Times explains that nearly 2/3 of the $1.6 billion budget upon which the Palestinian government operates comes directly from aid given by the United States and the European Union, much of which is used for humanitarian aid projects or spending.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already vowed to cut aid to the region saying, "we can't have funding for an organization that holds those [anti-Israeli] views just because it is in government." She clarified, though, that not all aid will be cut, and that humanitarian aid will be examined on a "case by case" basis.
Talk of such cutting such funds and/or relations seem to lead to the conclusion that this is an "all" or "none" situation. Reports seem to indicate that we must (and will) either recognize Hamas and accept its platform, or we will reject the government as "terrorist" and simply refuse to deal with it, allowing Israel and Palestine to take care of the situation without support or advise from the United States. While recognition of the new government is highly unlikely, the idea of complete severance seems equally impossible and unlikely.
A third, though seemingly ignored, option is for the United States to push for a change in the policies of Hamas, rather than simply ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. In his Staaddressthe Union addres delivered on January 31, 2006, President Bush explained that, "The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace." This does not say to me that the United States has only black or white options. Instead, Bush seems to be laying out an ultimatum: either move towards civil governance by rejecting terrorism and by accepting Israel as a legitimate nation, or face swift in severe consequences including, but not limited to, severance of aid as outlined by Secretary Rice.

I applaud Bush for his stance on this situation. It is not in America's best interest to lose the favor of Israel by supporting and recognizing the terrorist organization as legitimate leaders if they continue to claim "death to Israel." It is, however, not the American way simply to say that an elected body cannot be dealt with. We--the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations-- must push Hamas to reject their policies of terror and violence in favor of the true meaning of democracy: compromise, understanding and striving for peace, yet we must also be prepared to act if such heinous policies of death, destruction and intolerance are not surrendered.


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