CAN OBAMA BUILD PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS?

By William Markiewicz

He is probably the only one able to do so. The U.S. is still the leader of the world, which normally should not be. In a Global Village a world leader wouldn’t be necessary but it is the leader because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and because the U.S. government wishes it. In the present situation, the existence of such a leader may be handy.

The problem with Hamas, as with the Taliban, is that religion supersedes politics. For Hamas to accept the existence of Israel would be like Christians accepting the Antichrist. So such negotiations would have to be over Hamas’s head. This would be possible only if the population of Gaza stops considering Hamas as its authority and this is as difficult as convincing Medieval Europeans to reject the Inquisition and the Pashtuns to reject the Taliban’s authority. To overpower deep rooted religious ideologies we have to include the Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Let’s not forget that they started to conquer territories which were assigned by a Peace Treaty with the Palestinians. They used the same arguments as Hamas and the Taliban: God. Compared to seculars, believers die relatively easily and are hard to defeat. What does Obama have to offer? To say to Hamas and Hezbollah: “Don’t attack Israel” and to the settlers: “You have to abandon your conquests. You can’t ask your adversary to do something you aren’t ready to do yourself.” Within this framework there would be formidable and equal pressure against those three groups of fundamentalists with a chance of success if the whole world echoes Obama. I just mentioned the Taliban. With them it’s another story; too far away from the rest of the world, and the official Afghan government is upheld mostly by foreign forces. Hamas out of the game, other political forces which have always existed among the Palestinian Arabs – liberalized Muslims, Christians, seculars – will have their chance to take power in their hands.

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