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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hamas again rejects moderation. World ignores it.

One of the recurring themes coming from the wishful-thinking anti-Israel liberal crowd is that Hamas is really not that extreme, that it needs to be included in the "peace process," and that its "moderate" leaders can and should be encouraged and rewarded by the West.

There is a good reason we are seeing so much of this lately. The reason is that they want peace, and they project this desire onto everyone else. Peace is so obviously preferable to war that they cannot conceive that anyone really doesn't want peace deep down. In this mindset, people are the same no matter who they are, and everyone is reasonable, and if people would just talk in an atmosphere of tolerance and empathy, all problems can be resolved fairly.

This thinking is so ingrained that counterexamples - and counterproofs - are downplayed. The idea that people could be evil is simply not a possibility. If a Westerner says anything that could be vaguely perceived as anti-peace, he is vilified and shamed to be brought back into line. But if a non-Westerner says anything that is completely antithetical to peace, he is ignored or contextualized. His words are only meant for local consumption, we are told; he doesn't really believe it. Or perhaps he has been pushed into his extreme positions by the evil actions of the West and if we would only treat him better, he would reciprocate.

The media has embraced the meme so thoroughly that it will highlight any story that supports it and will downplay or ignore any story that disproves it.

The latest incarnation of this twisted bit of fatal wishful thinking has been the idea of a Palestinian Arab unity government as a way to save the moribund "peace process." Unifying Hamas and Fatah, the thinking goes, will force Hamas to moderate its positions. Of course, these same people thought that winning an election would force Hamas to moderate its positions as well, and that didn't work out, but hope springs eternal.

As a result, we are unlikely to see much of this story in the Western press:
The Hamas movement said on Saturday that accepting the unity government's positions on prior commitments would harm the Palestinian cause, and refused to do so.

According to Senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardaweel, accepting the agreements, such as the Oslo Accords or other signing documents, would be impossible, although he said the movement made a number of other concessions.

"Hamas does not agree on such formulas, for the betterment of the Palestinians, and Fatah," he went on to say. "The aim is forcing Hamas to commit to the agreements," which he described as "unfair."
In other words, Hamas has said, for the umpteenth time, that they will never accept a peace agreement with Israel, even if they join a quasi-government that has already made such an agreement.

But - but - Roger Cohen has assured us that Hamas is a viable peace partner! But the New York Times has insisted that Hamas needs to be brought into the peace process! But Richard Falk keeps saying that Hamas offered a near-permanent truce with Israel!

Hamas has been nothing if not consistent. There is nothing that it has done in the past two decades that has contradicted its radical, anti-semitic, hateful founding charter in the tiniest detail. Yet 22 years of fierce rhetoric, of terrorist actions, of uncompromising hate are just so inconsistent with the liberal ideas of everyone being the same as us, of underdogs being simply misunderstood, that stories like these must be ignored - they don't fit the meme. The tiniest wisp of hope gets overblown and the most radical examples of hate - like the "Pioneers of Tomorrow" children's TV show still being shown on Hamas TV - get swept under the rug.

And Israel - a nation that truly is liberal; a nation that has given up land, uprooted people and paid dearly for peace - gets demonized instead as being "intransigent" or worse.