13 April 2009

Talking Sense About Israel & Palestine

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams had a recent visit to Gaza. This after attempts by Israel to ban him for entering Gaza. But suddenly, the next day he was inside Gaza, carrying out his business as intended. The sudden reversal by Israel was quite telling. Moreover, Adams met with all parties (except Israel as they once again refused) and he will be issuing a report to George Mitchell, among many others, after his meetings inside Gaza. Adams brings some cred to this situation. Well respected within Palestine, Adams has also held meetings with Palestinian leaders on the conflict back in 2006. Clearly Adams is assisting the Obama administration in their search for Middle East peace, this is a good thing, so long as the US government play fair and do not "use" Adams and Sinn Fein for ulterior motives and I am quite certain Adams will be watching for any signs of that.

On a personal note, I believe Hamas can learn much from Adams on how to move forward politically and hold political negotiations with Israel. Should there be a genuine attempt at REAL peace negotiations by the Obama admin, then Hamas will need to move from a "war scenario" to a "political negotiations" scenario. This is where they can learn much from Adams and other Sinn fein negotiators. It's a delicate balance moving from one to the other and you have to move your base along with you as well. Case in point=within only a few years Sinn Fein has become the 2nd largest party in the North and are also gaining ground in the Free State South.

Adams has an interesting perspective in an interview with the Jpost. I have published excepts below which are interesting to take note of. I am still very much a skeptic regarding the Obama Administration to really play fairly with Palestine. Having said that I watched the inter workings of the Irish Peace Process take shape and I must say I do recognise parallels. Some of this gives me pause to think that possibly Obama may "do the business" and establish a Palestinian state, but what "kind" of state is another matter and will require much inspection by the world community.

Anyway, note Adams handling of the grilling he received by the Jpost (a Zionist pro-Israeli paper) this is political mastery at it's finest IMHO Article below:

Northern Ireland politician Gerry Adams, who met Wednesday with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, dismissed Israeli criticism that these meetings give Hamas legitimacy, telling The Jerusalem Post in an interview Friday that "the voters give Hamas their legitimacy."

"If I may say so, when people are challenged to go to the ballot box, and they win, you cannot say to the electorate, hard luck, we don't like who you voted for," Adams said by phone as he was traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.
(round #2 below)

Reminded that the Nazis took power through the ballot box, Adams, head of the Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party, responded, "Let's not get into the Nazis. Let's talk about Sinn Fein, a party that is generally accepted as having played a positive role in the [Northern Ireland] peace process.
(Again, point-score-Adams)

"I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington. I deeply appreciate the huge suffering the Jewish people have endured. I have huge affinity with what people came through in the Holocaust and the concentration camps, and anti-Semitism and all of that. And I stand firmly and absolutely against all of that.

"But there was a time when there was no dialogue in Ireland, and there was conflict," he said. "Once we opened up the process to allow dialogue, and made it inclusive, we started a very difficult process that challenged everyone. It challenged Sinn Fein, it challenged the British government, challenged the unionists."

Adams said there was a "certainty" about war "that people can be comfortable in, because you don't have to take chances."
(Once again, Point-Score-Adams, he called Israel out, Israel does not want to be challenged, hence they make attempts to "deflect" to other issues, or cry anti-semitism or "holocaust" Adams did not fall for that tactic)

But, he said, "you can take chances and ensure that no person has to be killed, or live in fear or be imprisoned and subjected to all the people of Israel and the people of Palestine have been subjected to. We took the chance in Ireland. It wasn't easy, but the rewards more than vindicate and validate the risks that were taken."

Asked if he thought the two conflicts - Northern Ireland and Israel - were comparable, he said they were not, but there were parallels.
"I do think there are broad principles like political will that can be applied to the conflict resolution process," he said.

When reminded that the IRA never set out to destroy Britain, as Hamas has declared it wanted to do to Israel, Adams said that the Irish example has shown that "once people have a peaceful way to make progress, sensible thinking people will not use armed actions. So it's not a matter of who wants to destroy what, people should be able to resolve differences peacefully and through dialogue."
(They thought they could catch him out on that one, wrong-o Israel. He handles that one like a professional political master. You see Adams and Sinn Fein have had a great many years dealing with the British govt, the US govt and the Irish govt, plus their own people, they have seen all this type of attempted manipulation before. It would take more than an Israeli paper to beat him on this tactic)

Adams, who left the region early Saturday morning, said he believed Hamas when they said they "are not al-Qaida, they are not the Taliban, they want peace with their Israeli neighbors." Adams said that Hamas "told me they wanted a peace settlement, that they are prepared to accept a two-state solution."

Asked if he believed them, he said, "It's not whether I believe them. The fact is they are duly elected representatives of their people, let's test them, if need be. Let's enter into talks, let's have proper talks, let's have inclusive talks. Let's develop a project that ends aggression of all kinds. My position, and the Sinn Fein position, is that all aggressive actions should cease. There should be no armed actions by any of the Palestinian factions, or by the Israeli state." "The people of Palestine and people of Israel are destined to live together," he said. "It is an accident of birth where you are born. And people should live together respecting each other's rights.
(Pay close attention to the trap they tried on him below, and take a look at how he handled this, it's magic, pure political magic!)

Asked how he would recommend Israel respond to constant rocket fire on a large swath of its territory, he said, "I'm against the rockets, and I made that clear, that's why I went to the places I went to. And I also made clear wherever I spoke that I'm against that. But the solution lies in recognizing that the people of Palestinian have the right to a state that is viable and sustainable, and recognizing that the security of Israel is interlocked into the rights of dignity and security of the people of the Palestinians territories."