Sep 12 2010

Peace Talks For A Rough Neighborhood

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that launched recently have re-focused attention on one of the great Gordian knots of international politics. Lately, I’ve been contributing to the CIC Scene blog with some backgrounders on some of the challenges facing the negotiators — mainly, extremists (and their state sponsors) who have an incentive to ignite conflict.

First, I take a look at the terrorist on board the Mavi Marmara. Remember the “peace boat” in the Gaza flotilla? It turns out at least one of the crew had some experience with violence on boats:

Who is Tekir? He was one of the hijackers involved in the Black Sea hostage crisis back in 1996, when terrorists seized a boat carrying nearly 200 civilians and threatened to blow it up. According to the New York Daily News: “Nadia Naskova, a Russian woman who escaped from the ferry, said several people were wounded and that Russians were herded together and beaten.”

The hijackers were taken down by Turkish authorities. Tekir served three-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the terror operation.

What was Tekir’s role on board the boat this time? Was he one of the thugs who mobbed the soldiers? More to the point, what did the other “humanitarian” activists aboard the boat know about him – or the many Islamic fundamentalists on board belonging to the Turkish IHH, which may soon be listed officially in the USA as a terrorist organization?

I’ve also noted lately a few op eds and “hard news” articles calling for Hamas to be included in the peace process — as though there were “moderates” the Israelis might be able to negotiate with. Rather than point out the theoretical problems with such an approach, I’ve decided to simply relate Hamas’ public statements. Read them and you’ll see there’s not much point in bringing them to the bargaining table. An excerpt:

“Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don’t recognize the state of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims.”
– Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, Hamas leader in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2005

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