Amidst the debate of negotiating with terrorist supporting organizations Obama contends that negotiating is not the same as appeasement and he is correct. But the insinuation is that Bush has refused to negotiate at all, and this is not accurate.
We have good diplomatic ties with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, the UAR, Pakistan, Iraq, and others. We negotiate with these nations in spite of many dissagreements. We recognize a common interest; these nations also fear the power of a nuclear armed Iran and the radical Muslims. In fact if we do not somehow neutralize Iran it will lead to a proliferation of nuclear power in the Middle East as other Arab nations seek defensive nuclear capability.
To negotiate one must seek some common interest and that is hard to do when one party seeks the absolute destruction of another, not just for political or territorial gain, but for religious and existential reasons. This is why negotiations with Hamas and Hezbollah is so different than negotiating with Stalin, Khrushchev, Ho Chi Minh, Castro, or even Kim Jon Il.
Our representative Jim Marshall took a lot of flak from the Jewish community because he voted against a resolution labeling Hamas as a terrrorist organization. The resolution would have blocked any dialogue with Hamas and he felt that it was improper to block any conversation with an elected body, even Hamas.
While logically Jim makes a point, the reality is that Hamas like Arafat before them, are adept at leveraging such diplomatic status into endless delays, using semantic relativism to render the “terrorist” label meaningless. They openly claim that cease fires and negotiations are only a means to rearm and reconfirm to their ultimate goal of our destruction. There is much more to reality than mere logic.
Israel and the US have agreed to talk with Hamas with three critical preconditions- First, that they recognize the legitimate existence of the state of Israel; second that they renounce terrorism (that means no more rockets fired from Gaza and Lebanon at Israeli civilians), and third that they honor previous commitments and treaties with the Palestinians.
I consider these preconditions perfectly legitimate and that negotiating without these preconditions is a giant step toward legitimizing their threat against Israel’s existence.
However, even these preconditions are toothless without maximum economic and military pressure. From the time that Arafat was allowed to be seated at the UN with his pistols, the world’s willingness to negotiate and recognize the “legitimacy” of terrorists has spawned the situation we face today.