The Economist has an article (dated 3 August 2013) about the possibility of Hamas joining in the peace talks.
…Conspicuously absent from the meeting in an ornate dining room at the State Department were representatives from Hamas, the rival Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, an enclave on the coast.
Before moving on to its (rather light) analysis, the Economist deals with the status of Hamas: terrorists or not? It says as follows:
The Israelis and the Americans both refuse to talk to the Islamists, whom they accuse of being a terrorist organisation. In the past, Hamas has responded with murderous effect by blowing up buses, turning many Israelis against a peace agreement.
- The Economist is not going to call Hamas terrorists.
- The Economist says it’s Israel and America calling Hamas terrorists. It’s their fault, you know.
- The Economist’s rather coy – and sneaky – stance is somewhat undermined by its own description of Hamas’ activities.
The impression I get is that the Economist does not want to get its hands dirty by entering into a discussion about terrorism. Why? Maybe it feels there is no point. As many have said, you make peace with your enemies. So, if your enemies happen to be terrorists, what choice do you have?
The effect is this: instead of condemning Hamas, the organization gets a free pass. It’s almost as if, were Hamas to join in the peace talks, all that had gone before would be forgotten. This may be a practical necessity – I am not persuaded – but it highlights the apparent risk free strategy of these terrorist groups: kill, maim and terrorize, and worry not. When it’s all over, the men in suits, cigars, and short memories will welcome us with open arms (sic) to the peace talks, when all will be forgiven, and we can live to fight another day.
I’m feeling slightly queasy now…
Incidentally, the notable conclusion of the article is this:
Suddenly Hamas finds itself without any big foreign backer. Is it time to make new friends?
Unlike the Economist, I do not see Hamas’ making new friends of either Israel or the USA. It’s another reason to be pessimistic about the current peace talks, but the optimist in me is prepared to overlook that and hope for the best.
[The article is here, though it may be behind a paywall.]