Friday , 21 June 2024

Hamas Must Be Destroyed Before Any Peace Talks Take Place

gatestoneinstitute.org – Do Ireland, Norway and Spain not see how appeasing terrorists anywhere only emboldens the militants in Europe? Last month, in Germany, more than 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets demanding that Germany become a Caliphate with sharia law.

Is [Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez] ready to grant the Catalans in Spain, who for years have been fighting for their independence, a State of Catalonia?

In Ireland, even at its most violent, there were never calls to take over Scotland, England and Wales to displace the British.

The capitulation of Ireland, Norway and Spain also reveals a deliberate misinterpretation of the root causes of Israel’s long-running conflict with the Palestinians, in which the constant refusal of successive generations of Palestinian leaders to renounce terrorism as the primary means of achieving their political objectives has made the concept of a lasting peace between the two sides impossible.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called by Andrew Roberts “The Churchill of the modern Middle East,” remains bitterly opposed to Palestinian independence as a “prize for terrorism”. “A reward for terror will not bring about peace,” said Netanyahu, “and also will not stop us from winning over Hamas.”

Hamas have repeatedly used their own people as human shields and shot at them to prevent them from fleeing to safety.

While the Biden administration’s stance towards Israel in the Gaza conflict has often been hostile, its rejection of the joint declaration by Norway, Ireland and Spain is most welcome.

If Israel could be allowed to succeed in “freeing Palestine from Hamas,” it would significantly improve the prospects of both Israelis and Palestinians.

The announcement by Ireland, Norway and Spain that they are to recognise a Palestinian state only highlights a breathtaking naivety about the fundamental reality of the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the move was “in favour of peace and coexistence.” Is he ready to grant the Catalans in Spain, who for years have been fighting for their independence, a State of Catalonia? Pictured: Sanchez delivers a televised speech o on May 28, 2024. (Photo by Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement by Ireland, Norway and Spain that they are to recognise a Palestinian state this week only highlights a breathtaking naivety about the fundamental reality of the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In fact, the announcement is likely to extend the violent conflict currently taking place in Gaza: it sends a clear message to terrorist groups such as Hamas that carrying out brutal attacks against innocent Israeli civilians will be rewarded by supporting their demand for statehood.

Norway, the country that helped to sponsor the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, which set out a framework for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, was the first country to announce its decision, with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre declaring, “There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

Do Ireland, Norway and Spain not see how appeasing terrorists anywhere only emboldens the militants in Europe? Last month, in Germany, more than 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets demanding that Germany become a Caliphate with sharia law.

The Norwegian prime minister’s comments were echoed by Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin, who said that Ireland had announced “our unambiguous support for the equal right to security, dignity, and self-determination for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, said the move was “in favour of peace and coexistence.”

Is he ready to grant the Catalans in Spain, who for years have been fighting for their independence, a State of Catalonia?

In Ireland, even at its most violent, there were never calls to take over Scotland, England and Wales to displace the British.

No mention, though, was made in the joint announcements, which followed months of discussions between the country’s governments, about precisely how recognising a Palestinian state in the midst of the war in Gaza is going to help resolve the dispute.

On the contrary, the declaration is far more likely to exacerbate tensions in the region, as its main achievement has been to further anger the Israeli government, which roundly condemned the move and responded by withdrawing its ambassadors from the three countries involved.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz summoned up his government’s total rejection of the initiative by stating, “History will remember that Spain, Norway, and Ireland decided to award a gold medal to Hamas murderers and rapists.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called by Andrew Roberts “The Churchill of the modern Middle East,” remains bitterly opposed to Palestinian independence as a “prize for terrorism.” He claims it ultimately rewarded Hamas for launching its devastating attack against Israel on October 7. “A reward for terror will not bring about peace,” said Netanyahu, “and also will not stop us from winning over Hamas.”

The decision by these three countries to pre-emptively recognise a Palestinian state, before the direct negotiations that the Israelis and Palestinians agreed upon to resolve the conflict have even begun, is all the more provocative from Israel’s perspective given that it took place the same week that the chief prosecutor at International Criminal Court in The Hague announced he wanted to seek arrest warrants for both Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The willingness of Western governments and international institutions to indulge in such dangerous virtue-signalling not only exposes their wilful misrepresentation of Israel’s right to defend itself in the aftermath of the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

The capitulation of Ireland, Norway and Spain also reveals a deliberate misinterpretation of the root causes of Israel’s long-running conflict with the Palestinians, in which the constant refusal of successive generations of Palestinian leaders to renounce terrorism as the primary means of achieving their political objectives has made the concept of a lasting peace between the two sides impossible.

During the early years of the Palestinians’ quest for statehood, it was the insistence of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat of relying on acts of terrorism to achieve his goals that constantly undermined international peace efforts.

More recently, the PLO, which today controls the Palestinian Authority, headed by PLO veteran Mahmoud Abbas, has been effectively replaced by Hamas, the Islamist terrorist movement which helped destroyed the Oslo Accords by conducting a deadly wave of terrorist attacks against Israelis starting in the 1990s.

Hamas’s reliance on murderous acts of terrorism to achieve its goals means that any future attempt to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians is doomed to failure so long as the terrorist organisation remains in a position of power, an argument that is accepted by both Israelis and the majority of Palestinians.

Since coming to power in Gaza in 2006, Hamas has, apart from building a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, violently suppressed all political opposition to its dictatorial rule in the enclave.

The widespread disaffection of the majority of Palestinians to Hamas’s authoritarian conduct has increased significantly since the start of the Gaza conflict, after Hamas terrorists have regularly used Gaza’s civilian population as human shields, with no regard for their safety.

These inhumane tactics, moreover, have contributed significantly to the high death toll in the Gaza conflict, in which Hamas have repeatedly used their own people as human shields (such as herehere and here) and shot at them to prevent them from fleeing to safety (herehere and here).

In such circumstances, Israel’s declared ambition of removing a deadly terrorist organisation such as Hamas from the face of the earth is entirely justified, especially if there is to be any realistic prospect of lasting peace in the region.

The notion that an organisation that wilfully murders innocent civilians still retains ambitions to become the undisputed leaders of the Palestinian people is totally unacceptable, a consideration meddling European nations such as Norway, Ireland and Spain would be well-advised to take on board before they indulge in their ill-judged calls for Palestinian statehood.

The idea that Hamas could one day emerge as the leaders of an independent Palestinian state is clearly a prospect no civilised nation should accept, and is the reason why it is vital that major world powers, such as the US, continue to resist calls to recognise a Palestinian state.

While the Biden administration’s stance towards Israel in the Gaza conflict has often been hostile, its rejection of the joint declaration by Norway, Ireland and Spain is most welcome.

In its official response to the countries’ initiative, the White House repeated its view that the only way to resolve the conflict was by “direct negotiations”, a policy supported by the Palestinians themselves, as well as European powers such as the UK and France.

The best way to create the circumstances in which such negotiations can take place is for Israel to be allowed to fulfil its military campaign to destroy the ability of Hamas to wage more mass-murders like October 7 – referred to as the equivalent of “50 9/11s.” — as Hamas has sworn to do.

If Israel could be allowed to succeed in “freeing Palestine from Hamas,” it would significantly improve the prospects of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph‘s Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

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