Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gaza Strip News

International Solidarity Movement supplied the Guardian with footage of the aftermath of the Israeli air raid. The town of Rafah was heavily battered from bombing.

In other news: President-elect Obama intends to have back-channel talks with Hamas.


The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush ­presidency's ostracising of the group. The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006 ­Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.

The Guardian has spoken to three ­people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp. There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive. A tested course would be to start ­contacts through Hamas and the US intelligence services, similar to the secret process through which the US engaged with the PLO in the 1970s. Israel did not become aware of the contacts until much later.


The Bush policy of not talking to Hamas hasn't worked. I am not sure Obama's attempts at dialogue will be anymore productive. Hamas does not want an independent state, living peacefully with Israel. Hamas wants the destruction of Israel. The Europeans, Canada and Australia recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. Where is the middle ground?

Hamas has become extremely popular in the occupied territories for providing social services. The corrupt Afafat regime failed to take care of the Palestinian people. The first thing Obama needs to do is get the Israelis and Palestinians away from the other's throat. Clinton was good at that. President Bush told Colin Powell: "I don’t see much we can do over there at this point." We see what Bush's lack of interest has done to Israel. Obama appears to be engaged. That is a promising start.

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2 Comments:

At January 09, 2009 12:04 AM , Blogger tas said...

The way to not talk to Hamas is to not empower them, which US and Israel's actions have done nothing but. There's even dissent within Hamas over whether or not Israel should exist, meaning that such a view is a minority among the Palestinian population. People there voted for Hamas because of social services and not an extremist agenda. I have to question whether or not Hamas controls all the missiles fired from Gaza.

Yet what does Israel do? Bomb everything. I know Israel has fears about emmigration caused by the rockets, but I don't think this is just about Hamas. Regardless, the best way to bargain with Hamas is by not empowering them, therefore they don't have any real position to bargain from.

 
At January 09, 2009 6:42 PM , Blogger Gary Baumgarten said...

We'll be discussing the Israeli invasion of Gaza from perspectives on both sides of the divide Monday and Tuesday January 12 and 13 at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com with Israel's Consul General in New York Asaf Shariv and Hussein Ibish, executive director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership and senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine.

Please go to www.garybaumgarten.com and click on the Join The Chat Room button to speak with Shariv on Monday and Ibish on Tuesday.

Thanks,

Gary

 

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