Friday, March 03, 2006

Will Hamas Change Its Stripes?

Russia has warned Hamas that the Palestinian group will have no future if it fails to transform itself into a legitimate political party. This is exactly the kind of pressure that should be placed on Hamas. I have written in earlier posts that Israel and other international actors should not marginalize and ostracize Hamas immediately, but rather should make it clear on what future interactions will depend: a cessation of violence by Hamas at a minimum, moving towards eventual recognition. If Hamas meets these terms, then Russia, Israel, the US, and other actors should deal with Hamas in the same way they did the PLO.

3 comments:

nicolnichcov said...

I'm not convinced that Hamas is going to be capable of divorcing its militant components. Without a clear mandate of peace and a promise to disarm there is no way this can even get off the ground. Even if they "Sinn Féin" the situation, I believe it is unlikely that violence will cease. Assuming Hamas gains more legitimacy by preaching a positive political agenda, there are another dozen militant groups like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the Baloch Mujahideen to derail and undermine Hamas.

Seth Weinberger said...

You may be right, but let's not forget that Hamas has observed the cease-fire for well over a year now...the violence that has occurred has mostly been carried out by Islamic Jihad, which explains the recent Israeli targeted killings.

Even if Hamas doesn't change its rhetoric immediately (which is unlikely) the key consideration should be whether Hamas continues to restrain its militants. If so, even if Islamic Jihad or any other group continues terrorism against Israel, the situation will be no worse than it is now. Israel should react to Hamas' deeds, not words.

Filou said...

We should not fool ourselves, Hamas will never change even it pretends so. The real question is how can we get the palestinians to promote a regime that will be a real partner for peace...