An article today released by the AFP proclaimed: Israel fumes over Putin 'knife in back'. Basically, Israel is having a hissy fit because Russia invited Hamas--the fair winners of the Palestinian National Assembly elections--to meet with Putin in Moscow.
Of all people, the Israeli Education Minister was the top quote in the article: "This initiative is a real knife in the back... because it aims to give international legitimacy to a terrorist group and we must oppose it with all our means."
In response, I have to ask: What if the aim of this visit is to help Hamas earn its own legitimacy??.
Hamas is a political organization. It has functioned for the last decade as the welfare state helping the Palestinian people through horrible poverty and war. It is already a legitimate organization among Palestinians... and not just because it is Islamic or supports terrorist acts.
When Israel came in and leveled whole cities, it was Hamas who followed and helped people rebuild. As Israel pursued a reign of terror in an attempt to fight terrorism, Hamas helped the Palestinian people survive and claimed a right to legitimate resistance. I'm not saying I agree with Hamas... but just that they aren't the organization of pure evil that Israel tends to tell us they are. I am watching with bated breath to see what Hamas will do in power. But, I'm neither optimistic nor claiming that the apocalypse is upon is.
I have never viewed "Terrorism" as an ideology. Terrorism is a method used to express a point. It is an evil and despicable method because it targets innocent victims... but it is still a method. And both Israelis and Palestinians are guilty of terrorism. In fact, if they are not equally guilty, I tend to blame Israel for it... because they should have been smarter than that.
Yes, Hamas has operated a significant terrorist infrastructure... but "terrorism" is not their ideology. If they cease to perform terrorist acts, are we willing to stop calling them terrorists?
My personal belief is that if you give a group a legitimate outlet for their grievances, they will no longer pursue extreme methods. Why should a person scream if they think they can get their point across with a whisper.
As the whole press-covered world screams for Hamas to renounce terrorism, shouldn't there be some group willing to sit down with them and say: "Look... if you don't walk the line, you're never going to succeed." Isn't civilized discourse the best part of our democratic ideal? So, let us fume and clamor as we call Hamas to repentence. But, someone should sit down with them and teach them how to be a legitimate political organization.
If that is what Russia is doing, I laud them. In fact, I hope we asked Russia to do this, so we could be pushing all sides of this story.
Hamas is a Political Party with a Terrorist wing. They won on a campaign to root out corruption in the most corrupt old-man's club in the world (that is: the Palestinian Authority under Arafat's Fatah). Now, Hamas must learn to cut off that terrorist wing. Only then will they truly be able to fly.
That is all.