The False Road To Peace

The Bush-sponsored roadmap to Middle East peace seems to be failing as at least 13 are killed by Hamas militants in a Jerusalem bus bombing. Shortly afterwards, Israel resumed attacks against Hamas leaders.

The roadmap was a document that was visionary, but the vision did not match the reality of the situation. Yesterday, President Bush called upon Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen to combat Hamas rather than the IDF. PM Mazen shot back that it was impossible for him to do so, Hamas is simply too powerful. Indeed, PM Mazen is correct that he is virtually powerless to fight Hamas. He has no security forces, no presence in the streets, and no political capital to work with. He’s essentially isolated, and Arafat is doing everything in his power to keep him isolated so as to not steal the spotlight from himself.

Under these conditions, it is hopelessly naive to assume that President Bush’s roadmap can continue. Bush has made the same mistake President Clinton did in 1999 by assuming that a peace process can go forwards while groups such as Hamas have such a stranglehold in the Palestinian Authority. The only way in which a reasonable peace process can continue is if the moderates have control. As long as groups like Hamas, al-Aqsa, and others continue, the moderates cannot act.

Israel is also correct that it is only them who can defeat Hamas, at least until Mazen is somehow able to cement power. However, the way in which they are going about the assassination of Hamas leaders only hurts them in the long run. Sharon is not thinking in a sufficiently strategic manner. Each civilian casualty only aids the extremists. Instead, Sharon must fight a surgical war. Place bombs in cell phones, have Mossad snipers placed in key Palestinian cities, use informants, turncoats, and assassins to make life for Hamas leaders impossible. Deny any knowledge of any connection to the assassinations. That way the bodycount is minimal, and Hamas will no longer have the protection of human shields.

The Israelis also need to incite the Palestinian people against the militants. Pay off Palestinians if necessary, broadcast propaganda, do whatever it is necessary to turn the streets against the militants. Hamas depends largely on fear and money to survive. Make them afraid and work with the international community to cut off the funding, and Hamas will wither at the vine.

Fighting terrorism requires unconventional thinking and tactics. It requires a new style of warfare that combines brute strength with adept propaganda and surgical precision. However, it is also a style of warfare that is necessary. Only once Hamas has been throughly removed can the peace process go forwards and a true two-state solution be possible.

2 thoughts on “The False Road To Peace

  1. Your absolutely correct in pointing out that Palestine has no means to combat such organizations on its own. I find it ironic that for years the peace process had be decryed by some for Arafat’s inability or unwillingness to combat such groups on his own, now we’re saying they do not and never had such a capability. Such hypocracy would be hilarious if people were not dying as a result of it.

    A better solution, I believe, would be to give them security forces and money of thier own. Then failure would be there own fault and even I could not oppose Israel’s sometimes rather heavy handed methods of quashing such groups.

    This seems all to obvious to me, so I’m sure I must be missing something…

  2. Actually, that was done as part of the Oslo Accords in 1995. The US supplied weapons and expertise to create a Palestinian security force. However, some of them were killed by Hamas and others as collaborators. The rest either joined with the militants or have simply given up. Perhaps it is possible to create a truly independent Palestinian police force to combat Hamas, but until Hamas is weakened it’s likely going to be as ineffective as it was in 1995.

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