Jonathan Freedland wrote a quite good piece in yesterday’s Grauniad:
Israel has failed to learn these last 40 years [that] if you refuse to deal with a group because it’s too extreme, you don’t get to deal with a more pliant, moderate alternative. On the contrary, you eventually confront a force that is even more extreme. It happened when Fatah was eclipsed by Hamas – and it could happen again.
The full article is here. Amazingly enough, it even seems to have avoided the deluge of ignorant witterings that generally follow these articles on CiF, particularly on Israeli/Palestinian issues.
Sadly, events continue as heretofore, with the BBC reporting today that:
More than 30 senior officials from the Palestinian militant group Hamas have been detained by Israeli forces in overnight raids in the West Bank.
Those taken, mainly in Nablus, include the Palestinian education minister, three lawmakers and three mayors.
The Israeli military said the detentions were made because the officials “supported the firing of rockets” into Israel, AFP reported.
Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 30 Palestinians over the last week, at least 11 of them civilians.
Over the same period, Palestinian militants have fired more than 120 rockets into Israel, killing one civilian and injuring at least 16 others.
Much as we may not like it, Hamas is a democratically elected government. They may be terrorists (although they’re frankly a bit rubbish at it – after hearing about all those “hundreds” of rockets they were firing, I was suprised to read about their first fatality), but they are now state terrorists in a sense (except Palestine isn’t a state yet). So are the Israelis; today al Jazeera report that electricity is once more being used as a method of collective punishment in Gaza. Israel may be more in the image of the ideal Middle Eastern state that exists in our heads, but, to come back to Freedland’s point, we don’t get to change the others by trying to marginalise and demonise them.