I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Will The Obama Administration Meet With Hamas?

With a little more than a week left before Barack Obama officially becomes the President of the United States, the speculation of how he will handle the violence in the Middle East is growing. While he is readily willing to show his hand on virtually every other issue in the news, he has been strangely silent on his intentions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has repeatedly said that we have only one President at a time, and he is currently not the President. As shocking as this may be for many to hear, I agree with him. Although I believe he is being silent for other reasons, I do believe that if he did enlighten us on his stand on the conflict, it could weaken any foreign policy that his administration may implement.

During President Bush’s tenure in the Oval Office, his administration’s policy was to not legitimize the terrorist group Hamas by dealing with them. Unfortunately, their plan blew up in their face when they pushed for elections in Palestine and members of Hamas were elected in majority numbers to the Palestinian Parliament.

During President Clinton’s 2 terms as President, his policy was to try to bring both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the bargaining table to negotiate a peace. Clinton helped negotiate a treaty were Israel gave in to 95% of Palestine’s demands, only to have Yasser Arafat reject the deal and walk away from the negotiating table.

During the eternal campaign, President-elect Obama called for unconditional talks with Iran and North Korea. At the time, Hillary Clinton called his foreign policy intentions naïve and foolish. In a few weeks, Clinton will be called upon to carry out Obama’s “naïve” foreign policy wishes.

While do not yet know what Obama’s true intentions are, we do have a small hint of what is to come. The UK Guardian has released a story that predicts that the incoming President will deal directly with Hamas to end the conflict and finally achieve peace in the region. The story alleges that the preparations are underway to begin low-level talks with the terrorist organization. They believe that it will be done secretly to politically protect the President from legitimizing the terrorists.

I believe any talks with Hamas, or any other terrorist organization, is completely pointless. Even worse, it could be deadly if you give in to the demands of the heartless murderers. How do you come to an agreement with someone whose sole stated purpose is to kill you? How do you negotiate with someone willing to strap a bomb on their child and send them into a crowded marketplace to blow themselves up? How do you find common ground with someone who would not think twice about cutting your throat and the throats of your children? The answer is that you cannot. The United States has had a policy of never negotiating with terrorists, because as soon as you do it once, every terrorist group is lining up to hold us hostage to get something that they want. Only time will tell what the Obama administration will do, but we can only hope that they do not pursue the naïve approach of appeasement.

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