Saturday, July 26, 2014

Peek-a-boo

Now you see Hamas, now you don't.

The answer to, "Is Hamas a terrorist organisation?" is neither yes nor no. It can't be 'no' because they clearly are terrorists. They are terrorising Israelis with their indiscriminate bombs and they undoubtedly terrorise Palestinians. So why can't the answer be yes?

No one in the media is defending Hamas but do they not at least deserve a fair trial? Go back to the troubles in Ireland. From the mainland we could look at loyalists and republicans and wonder how they could support their respective paramilitaries. The IRA and their counterparts were thugs (no doubt there) but so long as there was an 'us' and 'them' there was no hope for peace.

The Sinn Fein were never flavour of the month except among republicans but they won elections, even to the UK Parliament. Ian Paisley was never a terrorist and Martin McGuinness was never a saint. Neither garnered much support outside their respective camps and if either had their way Northern Ireland would be either Catholic or Protestant (perish the thought). But in the end they shared power because that was the only answer.

I believe in, and hope for, good always prevailing. Its the feel-good factor in the movies we watch and books we read. There is often a goody and a baddy. The baddy sometimes turns good and the supposed goody sometimes turns out to be a scoundrel but the outcome is usually fairly straightforward. Life's complicated enough so when we recreationally put the world to rights at least we get a little peace. But that's not how the world works.

If the IRA were the equivalent of Hamas then Sinn Fein would be the equivalent of Fatah, except Fatah have effectively been reduced to puppets. So, like it or loath it, Hamas are the representatives of the Palestinians. In the latest peace talks (brokered by Egypt) Hamas were not even consulted. So when Israel says that Hamas have refused a cease fire that's a lie. It's generally recognised that it was not Hamas who kidnapped and killed the three Israeli teenagers. The Israeli government knew that, yet went after Hamas anyway. So to say that Hamas started this conflict is debatable at best.

Its like that question: "Have you stopped beating your wife?" The answer isn't yes because I never started beating her. 'No' would technically be correct but would imply that I am beating her. The problem lies in the question and its inherent assumptions. In the context of the current conflict the question, "Is Hamas a terrorist organisation?" is just too loaded. If you want something from the shop you don't ask if the shopkeeper can be trusted because if they can't, you won't shop there. If you truly want peace and that shop is the only place you can buy it you either settle for war or you take the risk. Of course you could always kill the shopkeeper.