I listened to the CNN chat with the Hamas fellow from Gaza. I thought he was remarkable frank. Mahmoud al-Zahhar is his name and he is a surgeon. He said (roughly):
-We are Islamic. This is an Islamic government and it will stay that way.
-We will not be threatened over money. There are other sources of money in addition to the wallets of Americans.
-We will not recognize Israel. If they allow us to create our state then we will make Hudna with them (renewable)
-We will not give perpetual recognition to Israel because religiously we can not give up recovery of the land as a long term goal.
-We are willing to make short term arrangements (10 years, 20 years) but not sign any permanent cessions of land.
-We could live next to them on that basis.
Already the rationalizing has begun in the chattering classes. The dimly sighted want the election result to be about “Corruption!!!! (NOT THAT!), “Inefficiency” anything, anything but religious nationalism. President Bush is remarkably insensitive to the power of religion. The neocons and some Israelis want desperately to believe that Hamas, the religious revolutionary group, will prove to be really “agrarian reformers,” “crypto-socialists” “pragmatists” “moderates,” etc. These things were all said of the Mullahs in Iran and look where we are.
The Hudna thing is interesting. They would observe a truce. The Muslims just about always do. In the life of the Latin States (Crusader states.) there were many Hudna (jama’ aysh? “Hadaneh” mumkin?). Most were for 10 years, some longer. See Joshua Prawer for details. The Muslims never gave up on their duty to return Palestine to the Umma. They won’t this time either. Last time it took 190 odd years. I suppose the inference insures that the Israelis don’t like that analysis.
1-Duck Rule: If it walks like a duck, squawks like a duck and has feathers, it probably is a duck.
2 – Sherlock’s Rule: When considering a problem, remove everything from consideration which seems untrue. What is left is probably the truth.
3-Occam’s Razor: In considering a complex phenomenon with many factors and a variety of explanations, remember that the simplest explanation that accounts for the factors is probably correct.
4- The KISS principal” “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” (Army Rule)
On the basis of the application of these philosophical tools, I judge that Hamas is exactly what it says it is and that Israel will re-occupy the Palestinian Territories after Natanyahu returns to power. It may take him a while but his analysis will resemble mine.