Monday, June 07, 2010

Giving Hamas a chance

Nick Cohen, in the Guardian, has written an impassioned and generally excellent piece on the real reason the Arab states attack Israel, and the effect this has on Western liberals. Read it in its entirety.

Towards the end, however, he makes the following disturbing suggestion:

Israelis are not being irrational [about fears of Hamas re-arming if the blockade is relaxed - MS]. The same fears persuade the Egyptian government to blockade Gaza from the south, although we rarely hear about that. But the way to handle hypocrites is not to say as Israelis do that "the world will condemn us whatever policy we follow" but to call their bluff. If Israel were to relax the import restrictions and Hamas were to rearm, reasonable opinion, including reasonable Palestinian opinion, would see it for what it would be: a declaration of war.

This is extremely naive. Look what happened in southern Lebanon after the second Lebanon war in 2006. The international community fully guaranteed that Hizbollah would not be allowed to re-arm with UN Security Council resolution 1701. Did that stop Hizbollah building an even larger stockpile of illegal weapons than before? No. Did anyone see that as a declaration of war? No. The West has turned a blind eye, preferring an easy life to fulfilling its difficult commitments.

The result: growing chatter in Israel about the increasing likelihood of another northern war.

The idea that the international community would behave any differently if the Gaza blockade was relaxed is frankly laughable.

In any case, who exactly is 'reasonable opinion'? And do they have any influence? So far I haven't seen much evidence....

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