Senate Israel/Palestine

Discussion in 'Community' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Is defining Hamas as a terrorist organization actually useful? With all its components, Hamas sounds more like a quasi-state than anything else. It's a badly behaving quasi-state to be sure, but if you consider that it has control of its military wing, then the rockets it launches at Israel are less acts of terrorism and more acts of aggression. If Hamas is sort of a state and is capable of aggression, then it's also capable of negotiating an end to that aggression, not unlike the Camp David Accords where Israel and Egypt signed a formal peace treaty.
  2. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    At this point, I would agree with you that Hamas is more of a state that carries out state-sponsored terrorism, but as far as negotiating an end to that aggression goes, well, it would have to choose to, as would Israel.

    Peace,

    V-03
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Is defining Hamas as a terrorist organization actually useful? With all its components, Hamas sounds more like a quasi-state than anything else. It's a badly behaving quasi-state to be sure, but if you consider that it has control of its military wing, then the rockets it launches at Israel are less acts of terrorism and more acts of aggression. If Hamas is sort of a state and is capable of aggression, then it's also capable of negotiating an end to that aggression, not unlike the Camp David Accords where Israel and Egypt signed a formal peace treaty.

    Yeah, this makes sense, but it's also a starting point. It's a one sided starting point, but if nothing else, it sets the baseline at Hamas seriously looking at its militant wings. I mean, when the US, the EU, Japan, etc...are all unified about something, it shows that Hamas has to take a serious look at how it exists. Such a designation isn't going to force Hamas to do so, it has to do it on its own. But it's a common international determination.
  4. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I'm not sure Hamas will ever be rehabilitated in the same way as the PLO has been and the ANC and many others (including the founding fathers of the state of Israel), because Hamas are at their core a fundamentalist religious resistance movement who lack a recognisable secular leader who can provide a human face to the organisation. Hamas have multiple spokesmen, "spiritual" leaders who all look like Gandalf and a political leader (Khaled Mashal) who is forced to live in Syria for security reasons.

    Whilst ruling in Gaza, Hamas has also demonstrated itself to be ruthless and brutal to its own people which has seriously undermined all of the goodwill it has reaped from its 'humanitarian' activities. I personally don't put much stock in the fact that they were 'elected' either. Given the conditions that prevail in Gaza, the rise of Hamas was inevitable given their bellicose rhetoric which of course fundamentally appeals to a population living in trauma. People living in fear, poverty and squalid conditions without hope will vote for any organisation which is savvy enough to offer a message of resistance and strength.

    Hamas is not a state (quasi or otherwise in my view) it is simply a religious resistance movement which has participated in a political process giving them representative status for the people of Gaza. In my opinion that political process is and continues to be tainted by the conditions which are imposed on the people of Gaza and which Hamas will continue to perpetuate to maintain its political hold.

    I would prefer to see any approach to the UN to be made after Hamas is deposed as the political representatives of the people of Gaza but I understand the reasons for the timing of the UN submission.

  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Hoth, that's a good point, and your elaboration seems spot-on, but ultimately it should be dismissed. You're the lawyer... apply law!

    Because what else was anybody going to do? They'd been living in fear, poverty and squalid conditions without hope for decades. They wanted to be able to pick their own leaders, 'the Quartet' wanted them to pick their own leaders, it seemed that if the Palestinians had democratic elections, they had at least something resembling normalcy. Besides, are you really going to keep a people under occupation from having elections? That could be construed as aiding the occupier...
  6. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Of course I support elections, my point is just that I don't really buy into the argument that Hamas has international legitimacy simply because it was elected. It was elected by a population in extreme distress. It's not really a legal argument, rather it just a bone of contention I have with Hamas and its supporters who hide behind a shield of respectability because it was 'elected'. There is a world of difference between a population at peace participating in a political process of choosing its representation and governance 'platforms' and a population under siege, living in a squalid open air prison effectively being presented with a choice of organisations whose only 'platform' is to offer the best chance of liberation. That the people of Gaza were subsequently punished by Israel for choosing Hamas in those circumstances makes the while election fiascal more obscene.
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Well, what is international legitimacy, if it's not because you were elected?
    And if you don't get international legitimacy if you get elected while under siege, who gets it?
  8. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    These are the kinds of questions which keep academics in jobs Watto:p In a nutshell, for me personally, it is about being a good international and national citizen, ie, what you do once you ascend authority rather than how you got there. For example, Qaddaffi came into power after launching a coup,there was no election. Nonetheless, his subsequent actions gave him international legitimacy as he nationalised banks, set about establishing an economy, an education system etc. He lost international legitimacy when the international community let him be gunned down like a rabid dog beside a sewer pipe by his own people. I don't really see much difference between Qaddaffi and Hamas, except Hamas attained authority by 'election' rather than by coup.

    Since assuming political office, Hamas has done little or nothing to convince me that the rest of the world should look to them as being the representatives of the Palestinian people on the international stage. They have shown themselves to be brutal against their own people, engaging in torture, assassination and political violence as well as being indifferent to their humanitarian obligations under international law. In short, Hamas is a religious freakshow comprised of thugs and criminals.

    The fundamental problem is that the extremists/hardliners on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian divide (whom I describe as dumb and dumber) know that there will never be a Palestinian state whilst Hamas represents the people of Gaza and so will ensure that Hamas remains in power - this of course suits Hamas who obligingly conduct themselves in such a way as to ensure that the hardliners retain political currency in Israel.

    The only way to break the cycle is for the people of Gaza to take the chance of ridding themselves of Hamas. I'm hoping the recent activities of Abbas before the UN will encourage them to do so.
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    It's academic to me too, because I don't feel any more friendly towards Hamas than you do. Certainly not if what you say about how they act towards their own people is true. Though I have to say the only one I hear about that is you. I know some people who went to Gaza this month; I'll find out...
  10. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/in-israel-palestinians-tell-of-hamas-butchery-1.223711

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/6088655/Hamas-is-leading-Palestine-down-the-road-of-carnage.html

    http://www.yourish.com/2007/09/10/3652

    http://www.hrw.org/video/2009/04/18/under-cover-war-hamas-political-violence-gaza

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/03/23/we_now_return_to_our_regularly_scheduled_conflict?page=0,1

    It would appear that Hamas does not like any form of opposition, religious or political. Hopefully their decline in popularity will continue.
  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Thanks. Man, you're on top. Pretty shocking, all in all, and I was inclined to agree with your sentiment - until I read "Ron Prosor is the Israeli ambassador to Britain".

    Hoth?

    Still, the rest is pretty gruesome. And of course, what else do you expect from a fundamentalist organization. Under strain. But is it fair to denounce them altogether? You know, I still don't know how to judge collaborators, freedom fighters, or nationalists from the time my country was under occupation. I don´t even know what I´d do. But I can imagine myself doing some miserable things when I´ve lived under occupation for forty years. Granted, it doesn´t excuse them - I'd still sooner blame the oppressor.

    Also, I think that we'll get rid of them faster if we work with them.

    Meanwhile, here's some from the inside. My friend spoke to the beard. Hamas doesn't approve of Abbas' step (no surprise), but it will not stand in the way of Palestinian reconciliation, Haniyeh says. His problems with Abbas' UN bid stem mostly from the fact that there's nothing in the bid for the refugees, and that borders haven't been defined. But even though they're critical, they will not oppose the bid.

    The Gaza government has, according to Haniyeh, made a concious move towards de-escalation. They try (so they say) to prevent the rocket shootings, perpetrated by splinter groups. Haniyeh also underscored Hamas' preparedness to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders. There is no conflict with Jews, he stated; there is only the problem of the occupation.

  12. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Damn, I thought I left that link out. :p
  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Hoth, got some more academic stuff for you.

    Because the UN boycotts Hamas, OHCHR can't visit Gaza prisons. So the shape of Hamas prisoners is yet to be determined. Hamas says it would allow OHCHR in.

    That got me wondering if the UN boycott of Hamas is or isn't compliant with the Geneva Conventions.

    First Geneva Convention, Ch.1:
    Art. 4. Neutral Powers shall apply by analogy the provisions of the present Convention to the wounded and sick, and to members of the medical personnel and to chaplains of the armed forces of the Parties to the conflict, received or interned in their territory, as well as to dead persons found.


    Do you know what loophole they found?

    If we know that, my next question of course will be if the boycott is actually a good idea. I don´t know the answer, because I don´t know all the pros and cons... but I´m sure you'll pull up some links ;)

    Otherwise 44 will be here with some tales about rocket deals.

  14. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    To be honest I wasn't aware that the OHCHR can't visit Hamas prisons because of the UN 'boycott'. Normally, the OHCHR has access issues in Gaza because Israel won't let them in. Can you provide some further details?? It's news to me.
  15. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    It was in the report of a Dutch collective of elderly statesmen who went to Gaza this Month. They were briefed by OHCHR, and this statement appears to be coming from OHCHR. I've asked for verification. An English version of the report will be available later this week.
  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    The UN cultural organisation has voted strongly in favour of membership for the Palestinians - a move opposed by Israel and the United States.

    Of 173 countries voting, 107 were in favour, 14 opposed and 52 abstained.

    In response, Washington announced it is cutting funding to Unesco. Its membership dues provide around a fifth of the organisation's budget.


    Linkistine
  17. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Too bad that the US cutting funds to UNESCO will hurt the US and Israel more than it will hurt the UN and Palestine.

    Link


    The U.S. didn?t waste any time cutting funding for UNESCO after the United Nations devoted to promoting education, culture and science granted the Palestinians full membership.

    Currently the U.S. covers approximately one fifth of the UNESCO costs but by cutting that funding it will be even harder for the American agenda at UNESCO to be accomplished.

    That agenda is not just about protecting previous cultural sites, or teaching Afghan women, children and even police officers to read, or about helping to continue the Tsunami early warning system. It?s also about protecting Israel.

    The irony of the decision to cut funding is that UNESCO is one of the few United Nations groups where the U.S. finds a sympathetic ear on issues related to Israel. UNESCO is actively working with America to promote tolerance and is working to deepen understanding of the Holocaust in countries where people don?t even believe it existed.

    Even more important U.S. interests will be at stake if the World Intellectual Property Organization grants Palestinians membership, which as an affiliate of UNESCO they are almost certain to do. That is where you start directly encountering obvious and significant interests to American business. When an intellectual property dispute involves the Googles or the Apples of the world and China, it is critical for the U.S. to be a member of good standing, which it will not be if Congress cuts funding.

    Even more concerning is when the Palestinians make good on their promise to apply for membership to other U.N. bodies, like the International Atomic Energy Organization, which the U.S. views as critical to curbing Iran?s nuclear program. Or the World Heath Organization, where US money spent goes directly to keeping people alive.

    A cut in funding to these UN agencies will mean more than a loss of U.S. influence and prestige. It has the potential to affect American national security in ways lawmakers may not have envisioned when it passed the legislation as a punitive measure.

    Unless Congress grants President Obama waiver authority to continue funding to specific U.N. agencies that grant Palestinian membership, it won?t just be the Palestinians who are punished.



    Besides, the US didn't fund UNESCO from Reagan to Clinton. George W Bush started funding it again, after 20 years.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    "No" votes included Canada, Australia, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. I guess that accounts for about everybody in here...
  19. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Frankly, I'm sicked and tired of the Palestinian people being marginalised on the international stage because Israel and the US (and its lapdogs - sometimes I am embarrased and ashamed of being an Australian) somehow believe that Palestinian international legitimacy and its membership in the various international institutions 'endanger peace talks' and are 'premature'. How do they endanger peace negotiations? Why are they premature? It's absolute nonsense. Somebody should recall the precise manner in which Israel gained UN membership.

    Do the Palestinians have to wait until a peace deal is brokered before they are able to join the UN and its various institutions? I have not yet heard or read of one good reason why this should be so. The current Israeli leadership will happily prolong peace talks indefinitely, all the while continuing with illegal settlements and violations of UNSC Resolutions and basic human rights. Israel does not want international recognition for the Palestinian people, it wants to continue with the fantasy that all Palestinians are terrorists.

    I applaud the approach Abbas is taking. If he was to 'wait' until 'conditions were right' or until Israel and the US indicated that the conditions are right then it will simply never happen. The Palestinians are actually taking their lead from the history of the creation of the state of Israel. I'm sure Israel would never have existed if it waited until 'conditions were right'.
  20. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Unfortunately, one of the few things that both parties in the US Congress can agree on right now is unwavering support for Israel, no matter what the circumstances.

    Going into an election year, that is unlikely to change anytime soon, especially whilst deep in the throes of a GOP-primary. There will likely be a race to see who can defend Israel more, with each of the candidates claiming the mantle and also attacking Obama for his lack of support (which isn't the case).

    Peace,

    V-03
  21. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    In a way it's good that the US, the Commonwealth, and Western Europe (excluding... Belgium) take a clearer stance towards the Palestinians. What happened yesterday shows their true colors more than anything I've witnessed thus far. Unabashedly. Now we know where the lines are drawn. The dishonesty behind the 'peace process' made sure no progress was made, so maybe it's time for new ways to settle this poodoo.

    Meanwhile

    Israel to expedite settlement construction in response to Palestinian UNESCO membership
    Netanyahu and top ministers decide to impose sanctions on Palestinian Authority after it was accepted to UN cultural body; Palestinians slam decision as 'destructive to peace process' and 'inhumane.'
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Frankly, I'm sicked and tired of the Palestinian people being marginalised on the international stage because Israel and the US (and its lapdogs - sometimes I am embarrased and ashamed of being an Australian) somehow believe that Palestinian international legitimacy and its membership in the various international institutions 'endanger peace talks' and are 'premature'. How do they endanger peace negotiations? Why are they premature? It's absolute nonsense. Somebody should recall the precise manner in which Israel gained UN membership.

    And while I realize you view the topic with more of an emotional focus so you may misinterpret my response here, but from a pragmatic sense, why should they have all those things? What have the collective Palestinians done to not become so easily marginalized? What I mean is, what sets the Palestinians apart from groups like the Basques in Spain and France? Or the Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Turkey? Or the Armenians? Or the Ndebele in South Africa? Or dozens of other marginalized and/or displaced ethnic populations across the globe? Either fairly, or unfairly, the Palestinians can raise the specter of Israel, and in doing so, they're attempting to bypass important internal milestones and benchmarks that they have to achieve themselves. The Palestinians are acting like a group of alcoholics who want to open a liquor store just so they can get in and guzzle away the profits. When their liquor license is denied for precisely that reason, their answer is to run and complain to their uncle who used to know someone on the liquor permit board. Despite how much protesting the alcoholics may do, it's actually in their own interest to put such limits on their investment. Instead, what the Palestinians should do is go to some alcoholics anonymous meetings, complete treatment, and then stay away from alcohol and look at investing in a completely different kind of business. How much manpower, resources, and lives have been lost to the Palestinian focus? Resources that would be spent much more effectively in other areas.

    This doesn't mean that the Palestinians don't have a legitimate claim, but again, what's the most effective remedy? Should the UN offer recognition to the Basques, so they can carve an autonomous nation out of Spain and France? How about the Kurds? And so on? If the UN granted recognition to every collective that projects a wrong against another power and that wants such recognition, then the UN would come to look like the Galactic Empire in Revenge of the Sith, where procedures are endlessly deadlocked into hundreds of single focused conflicts. And if it wasn't for a ready-made buzzword, the Palestinians would be even more marginalized, and on par with the rest. You can't say that the Palestinians have any more or any less of a moral imperative than any of these other groups.

  23. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    The Palestinians are suffering in a humanitarian crisis that is partially being perpetuated by Israel. In addition, they continuously lose their homes to Israeli settlers. To somehow compare them to a group of alcoholics and to completely ignore the situation of the Palestinians is dishonest to the discussion and furthermore, disgusting.
  24. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    How is this the UN getting involved in an internal issue? Aren't we skipping over that part where, oh, the UN created Israel? The UN created this problem, and as such, they're already involved in it and the UN bears a responsibility to solve this far greater than the other issues mentioned, which weren't of their creating.
  25. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    44 was just speaking in a pragmatic sense. I'm sure he'll be his old ideological self again from now on.