Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hamas & the Palestinian Authority

I listened to an interview with John Baird yesterday and it made me realize just how little of the Israeli geo-politics I really knew.  I don’t know much more now but I’m willing to bet I know more than most of you so here for your reading pleasure is a 5 minute summary of Israeli/Palestinian geo-politics from my perspective.


According to Wikipedia (isn’t everything “according to Wikipedia” or “according to Google” now?), the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) was established by the Oslo accord in 1994.  At that time it was given some measure of control over areas mutually agreed to be Palestine.  Obviously what constitutes “Palestine” is a moving target and a large part of the problem but for governmental purposes it has come to mean urban areas of the West Bank (portions within the green outline above) as well as the entirety of Gaza.  The P.A. claims governance over all of Palestine but since 2007 Hamas has controlled the Gaza strip. 

This is what I found interesting in the Baird interview: John made the point that Israel has no major quarrel with the P.A.  During this current conflict the P.A. has remained largely silent, as has Egypt.  The struggle is clearly between Israel and Hamas.  Baird’s point was that Israel has no quarrel with Palestinians but has legitimate security concerns with regard to Hamas.

 I realize that Wikipedia is a living document so this quote may have changed by the time you read it, but this is what it says today:

The Hamas Covenant also known as Hamas Charter, refers to the Charter of the Hamas, issued on 18 August 1988, outlining the movement founding identity, stand, and aims.

The Charter identified Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." The charter states that "our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious" and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories,[2] and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.  The charter also states that Hamas is humanistic, and tolerant of other religions as long as they "stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region". The Charter adds that "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion" of Islam.

Based on that charter it seems pretty clear that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.  In the face of that I can’t see how any sane person can object to the Israelis trying to neutralize Hamas terrorists.  If we had a group inside Canada whose charter was dedicated to destroying Canada, we would expect nothing less from our government than their eradication.  You can argue all you want about the manner of Israel’s creation but the fact that Israel can coexist with the P.A. tells me that the fundamental problem is not friction between Israel and Palestinians but rather the fact that Hamas will not accept the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

There ends the lesson for today.

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