Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More disaster looming

This column by Rami G. Khouri bothered me when it was first published last year. Let's just say that it bothers me a bit more now. To wit:

Israel, with American backing, is now on a course to destroy the Hamas-led government and the Palestinian Authority, as it has been doing for the past four years. Hamas is pursuing a policy that will help this process along, based on its diehard commitment to armed resistance to occupation as a right that it will not abrogate or curtail.

This path will have enormous regional consequences. It will discredit two important dimensions of recent Palestinian political change: the integrity and legitimacy of democratic elections, and Hamas’ decision to enter into mainstream governance at the local and national levels.

If the current Israeli-American policy prevails, with increasing European support, the collapse of the democratically elected Hamas-led government will send political shockwaves throughout the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of young people who pursued peaceful democratic politics will feel duped and betrayed, and will become radically disenchanted. The wellspring of support for Hamas- and Muslim Brotherhood-style democratic engagement will slowly dry up in favor of more intense armed struggle.

We should not be surprised then to see large numbers of young men and women shift from the path of electoral democracy to that of military attacks against civilians and official targets, along with more Bin Laden-style terrorism in a wider arena. They will conclude that Israel, the United States and Europe value Israeli rights more than Palestinian rights. They will stop wasting their time trying to achieve a redress of grievance through peaceful democratic politics or diplomacy, and instead fight the larger civilizational battle they see before them.

Bringing down the Hamas-led Palestinian government will not bring quiet and more Palestinian and Arab acquiescence. It will result in further radicalization, resistance and terrorism across the region.
Let's hope Khouri is woefully mistaken. Unfortunately, he usually is not.