Choosing Up Sides for Armageddon. . .
Vol: 53 Issue: 27 Monday, February 27, 2006
Ismail Haniyeh the incoming Palestinian prime minister denied saying Hamas would consider peace with Israel under certain conditions.
Haniyeh was quoted by The Washington Post in its Sunday edition as saying Hamas would establish “peace in stages” if Israel would withdraw to its 1967 boundaries before it captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Haniyeh’s ‘offer’ included the so-called “right of return” – allowing millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes in Israel.
Israeli analyst Dan Schueftan dismissed it out of hand as a recipe for national suicide, saying, “One has to be stupid to even seriously consider, if he is making a conciliatory statement.”
“What he is saying is that, after Israel is destroyed, namely after the right of return is instituted, and so on, then he will consider to have a long-term truce with Israel. I mean it is a ridiculous statement.”
When asked whether Hamas would abide by interim agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians, Haniyeh said: We will review all agreements and abide by those that are in the interest of the Palestinian people.
The ones that will guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders,” he added.
Hamas also said this week that it would agree to ‘unconditional negotiations’ with the United States (but not with Israel.)
Speaking to the London based daily paper Al-Hayat, Khaled Mashaal said that international authorities had, over the past few days, sent messages to Hamas saying that they would support projects carried out by the Palestinian Authority, even with a Hamas-controlled PA.
The united international front that was presented in the wake of Hamas’ landslide election as representatives of the Palestinian people began to crumble before the various foreign ministers had even resumed their seats after announcing it.
The EU talked tough about Hamas at the Quartet meetings, repeating the conditions under which it would engage a Hamas-led government. Hamas must renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and adhere to all previous agreements made under the rubric of the road map for Middle East peace.
But, since Hamas specifically refused to commit to any of those conditions, the EU sent foreign affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner to address the general assembly of the European Jewish Congress.
Given that Hamas refused to recognize Israel, denounce terror, or live up to existing agreements, she told the Jewish community, there is only one thing left to do. Blame Israel.
“Israel must do more to ensure the peaceful coexistence of two viable states, such as ending the new construction of settlements.”
Also, she used the occasion to urge Israel not to withhold tax revenues Israel agreed to share with the Palestinian Authority under the terms of Oslo.
(The fact that the Palestinian Authority has not lived up to a single provision of the 12 year-old Oslo Accord evidently doesn’t constitute a release from Israel’s agreement to supply the funds necessary to adequately arm a sworn enemy.)
The EU’s foreign minister continued to ‘reassure’ the Israelis, saying, “We hope we can continue to work with the Palestinian Authority to build up the infrastructure of democracy and work towards building a state,” she said.
“The ball is in Hamas’ court,” she added mindlessly, before going on to insist that the EU never said the European Union would not “talk to” Hamas, only that the European body would not “work with” Hamas if it did not adhere to the Quartet principles.
There, Ferrero-Waldner was doing a little damage control for another Quartet member while the EU figures out which side to take.
Russian President Putin, despite the alleged Quartet ‘conditions’ has already invited Hamas’ terrorist leaders to the Kremlin for a victory party, er, I mean, ‘talks’.
The Russians appear to be re-evaluating their relationship with the United States in the wake of September 11. The early military cooperation in Central Asia during the war with Afghanistan is giving way to rivalry over security space and energy resources.
The US invasion of Iraq exposed the Kremlin’s involvement with Saddam, and US opposition to Iran’s nuclear program could cost the Kremlin billions. The Kremlin no longer sees Russia-US cooperation in the region as primarily beneficial, and it is rebuilding ties to its former Middle East satellites, instead.
It has always been somewhat unclear to me why Russia would lead an Islamic alliance against Israel, as Ezekiel predicted would take place in the last days.
Israel has nothing Russia really wants or needs. Israel has no oil wealth. Putin knows whatever wealth Israel now possesses would die with its nation.
(Witness the multi-million dollar produce industry Israel left behind, intact, (except for its Jewish operators) when it pulled out of Gaza. As soon as the Jews pulled out, the industry collapsed.)
So why would Russia risk a global war to invade Israel?
Putin recognizes this is really a war between civilizations far more clearly than the West does. Putin understands Islam better than the West does.
And Russia’s population includes some 25 million or so Muslims, which is a powerful incentive for siding with Islam.
Russia has even made application to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference, further cementing its relationship with Islam.
The Kremlin completely understands what the EU is only beginning to realize and what has not yet fully dawned on the United States.
The global war is already engaged. There is no longer any risk to minimize. Only sides to take.
On one side is the United States and Israel. (The EU is still trying to figure out how to straddle the fence.)
On the other is 1.3 billion Muslims. So that is where Putin is placing his bets. Right where Ezekiel forecast that he would.