Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Similarities Between Sinn Fein and Hamas

I received an interesting e-mail from William Jouris of Danville, CA:

The news reports suggest that Hamas has won a substantial portion, if not an absolute majority, of the seats in the Palestinian Parliament. In response, the Bush administration and Israel reiterate that Hamas is a terrorist organization and they will not deal with it until it renounces violence.

How fortunate then that Hamas did not actually win ANY seats. Rather its front party did. In this it is exactly like the Irish Republican Army, another terrorist organization which set up a front party (Sinn Fein) to participate in elections. Everybody knew Sinn Fein was a front party. Anybody who was paying attention knew that some of its members in the Northern Ireland Parliament had been active terrorists themselves. But governments simply ignored those inconvenient facts so they could deal with it.

The sensible course is to do the same with Hamas' front party. Heaven knows Fatah is totally corrupt and incapable of governing the Palestine Authority territory. At the least, getting Fatah out of government will give a chance for replacing the old guard with some new, and less corrupt, people. At best, Hamas' front party may be able to negotiate
agreements with Israel which the Israelis will be able to live with.

Hamas has been a lot more violent than the IRA ever was. And the IRA never proposed the destruction of Great Britain while eradicating Israel is a stated goal of Hamas.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Israel and its allies are going to have to work with Hamas. We can’t support democracy by refusing to communicate with a democratically elected government, no matter how much we may loathe their policies. Democracy is messy. But it's still the right path.

Keeping Sinn Fein in the political process resulted in very positive developments for Ireland, although it took many years of hard work to achieve such progress. The Sinn Fein model is at least worth considering in the case of Hamas.


Blogger JBD said...

Alan, I got the same email. I agree with your comments on it, and would add that so far the comments from Hamas' leadership have not been helpful. I hope that the organization will get serious and act in good faith, but I have grave concerns about Hamas' ability to do so.

3:21 PM  
Blogger AubreyJ said...

And then we have Iran in the middle of the mix......

4:08 PM  

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