Hamas: The Real Gazan Problem


By James Clappison MP
June 9, 2010
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The Israeli raid on the flotilla bound for Gaza that left nine people dead was a calamity. The loss of life is deeply tragic and all sides need to consider if there is more they could have done to prevent that. On Israel’s part the whole operation was poorly thought through and badly planned. An inquiry into the events is important. We should support the government’s call for a full independent, transparent and impartial process of investigation. Answers must be sought and lessons learnt.

However, while the story rumbles on, the accusatory headlines continue, and international outrage abounds, it is imperative that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. The fundamental fact is that whatever the rights and wrongs of the Israeli operation, there are larger, more important issues at play in the Middle East. Last week's events should not be forgotten but neither should they result in the government, Parliament, the media and the public forgetting the wider issues.

It is all too easy to forget what Hamas, which controls Gaza, really stand for. At the heart of Hamas’s radical ideology is its totalitarian, theological Charter, which advocates homicide and genocide. It calls not just for the creation of an Islamic state and the destruction of Zionism but for the destruction of the Jewish people. Article 13 of the Charter states that: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”

Many in the West have been persuaded that Hamas are victims of Israeli oppression. To those that argue that Hamas should be brought into the fold of the international community, I say, don’t be so naive. Hamas continue to send rockets over the border into Israel. They plan suicide attacks. They smuggle arms. They ignore Security Council resolutions. They collude with rogue states. And they continue to reject the Quartet Principles set out by the international community; reject violence; recognise Israel; and abide by previous peace agreements.

Hamas has shown no interest in taking the important steps of the Quartet Principles. Despite numerous requests and opportunities the group continues to thumb its nose at the international community and grows closer to Iran - itself complicit in encouraging Hamas’s aggressive stance – a state who continues to flout international law in order to advance its nuclear ambitions.

Additionally what sort of message does it send to President Abbas and the leadership of the moderate Palestinian Authority? It is plain to see that the Fatah-run PA’s acceptance of Israel and renunciation of violence has resulted in significant, material gains for ordinary Palestinians in the West Bank. Last year the West Bank economy grew by a record seven per cent. The West has gone to great pains to bolster the Abbas leadership. We should continue steps to help empower the moderate Fatah party.

To achieve concrete, lasting progress in peace talks and long-term security in the region, Hamas must accept the basic Quartet Principles. With its ideology intact, they cannot be a partner for peace and will ensure that any Middle East peace is short-lived. The reality is that Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and the West have a shared interest in preventing Hamas from being strengthened. Instead, strengthening the PA and ensuring that a moderate national unity government is established in Gaza and the West Bank should be our focus. The best hope for the people of Gaza is not Hamas but for Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to be able to implement his economic and state building programme there.

Israel doesn't always get everything right but democracy and rule of law are central and when mistakes are made the people of Israel can , and do , change their leaders. In our reaction to the tragic events that took place last week, we must not do anything which emboldens Hamas to pursue its course of aggression and rejection. To hand such a propaganda coup to Hamas paves the way for future conflict.

We in the UK must not lose sight of the fact that to have any hope of peace in the Middle East we should continue to pressure Hamas to change its ways. Hamas need to know that we will not reward its terror tactics, and that the fundamental issues of getting it to renounce violence, stop smuggling and distance itself from Iran, will form the core of our policy. On this, the government must remain resolute.

COMMENTS

Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 06/09/2010 - 21:47

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Mr Clappison,
You write:
"On Israel’s part the whole operation was poorly thought through and badly planned."

What evidence do you have for rushing to this conclusion?

Are you an expert in these matters? Do you have a naval/military back-ground?


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 06/09/2010 - 21:56

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Mr Clappison,

Let us assume that you were the Israeli PM, instead of a British PM, circa two thousand miles away from Gaza.

And let us assume that you had overall control of Israel's military response to the flotilla.

Precisely what would you have done?

Would you have allowed the flotilla to land in Gaza?

Would you have sent soldiers on board the boats and taken them to Ashdod? If so, would they have been armed with machine guns?

What orders would you have given them, if they were attacked when boarding?


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 06/09/2010 - 21:58

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typo
"British MP".
Apologies to David Cameron!


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 06/09/2010 - 22:20

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According to Wikipedia, you are a barrister. There is no mention of any military back-ground. In seems that you did PPE at Oxford and then went into law. Not really the best of backgrounds for making military/naval pronouncements.

In the circumstances it might be prudent to withdraw your bold assertion that the "whole operation was poorly thought through and badly planned."

You are clearly not qualified to make such a statement, particularly in view of the fact that Israel's investigation has not yet taken place.


Joshua18

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 08:17

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Blacklisted Dictator,

You say some excellent things, but why do you have to post so many times when once would be quite adequate? You make it look as if you have suffered from a series of brain farts.


Yvetta

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 08:48

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Thank you, Mr Clappison, for your blog and for engaging with us.
BD, do we have so many friends at Westminster that you should be so aggressive and discourteous to one?


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 10:49

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Yvetta,
Unlike you, I am not in awe of MP's. But I have honed my style on watching PMQ's.

Joshua 18,
Thank you for stating that I say "some excellent things". "Reborn ticker tape machine" "brain farts" etc is intrinsic to my blogging. And of course, I have not been blacklisted for being polite and courteous 24/7.


Joshua18

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 11:42

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'Thank you for stating that I say "some excellent things".'

I was simply being polite.

Yvetta is quite correct, you do owe James Clappison an apology. Your comments are infantile and do absolutely nothing to further the interests of the Jewish people or state.

And, yes, many thanks to Mr. Clappison for his thoughtful comments. I might not agree with all of them, but I do appreciate the fact that his heart is in the right place.


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 13:12

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Joshua18

Thank you for being "polite". It was very kind of you although it does seem that it was just a passing phase.

It is also nice that you think that Mr Clappison's "heart is in the right place". I am sure that he will be pleased that you think so, especially after my various comments (brain farts)

Of course, I must now bear the ignominy of being described as "infantile". And it is particularly mortifying to hear that my blogs do not "further the interests of the Jewsih people or state".

But I am grateful that you have pointed out my weaknesses. I will, in future, try and do a lot better.

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