Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Carefully Chosen Words

Today we got the Disney version of the Hamas victory in a Washington Post commentary,
and the more forthright Grimm (pun intended) version in the Guardian.

Both claim to be written by Hamas operatives.

At first glance, the former seems almost conciliatory if not deeply rooted in fantasy:

Through its legacy of social work and involvement in the needs of the Palestinian people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) flourished as a positive social force striving for the welfare of all Palestinians.

Hamas as a positive social force. In between suicide bombings?

In recognizing Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. In addition, fair governance demands that the Palestinian nation be represented in a pluralistic environment. A new breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

This may sound good but at best it’s meaningless – pluralistic environment? - and at worst, patently false. Tolerance and unity indeed.

Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant role in public life.

Including Um Nidal, who has already sent three of her sons to paradise with suicide packs, and is working on her other three.

And we do desire dialogue. The terms of the dialogue should be premised on justice, mutual respect and integrity of the parties.
...There must come a day when we will live together, side by side once again.

That’s kind of interesting in that it seems to imply that Hamas wants a two-state solution, in direct contradiction to ... this:

We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else's sins or solve somebody else's problem.

which appeared today in the Guardian, a UK newspaper.

Two commentaries, written by two members of Hamas, spun for different consumption.

One meant for Americans, draping itself in the US flag and constitution to elicit sympathy and a feeling of shared purpose:

We appeal to the American people's sense of fairness to judge this conflict in light of the great thoughts, principles and ideals you hold dear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the democracy you have built.

The other, for a European/international audience, much more strident and direct in tone.
It states right from the start that the Palestinians knew exactly what they were voting for, and it wasn’t just good clean government.
It challenges western countries, in the name of democracy, to suck up the victory of this terrorist group by not withdrawing aid, and in the same breath bullies other “Muslim and Arab nations” to pick up any slack in foreign aid that might result.

(Which raises the question, where have all these oil-rich Arab nations been up until now in regards to Palestinian support?)

Of course what’s crucial is what’s not being said outright – that all this living together in peace and harmony can never occur for Hamas until Israel has ceased to exist.

Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.

And we know what “justice” means to them.

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