I don’t want to write a blog post specifically on the topic of how the US is punishing the Palestinians for “voting the wrong way” and electing Hamas and the hypocrisy thereof. I think Red Jenny has done a superb enough job and demonstrating this (click here for her post), that further going over this here wouldn’t add anything to the debate.
I did, however, want to discuss some of the similarities between us and the Palestinians which should give us pause the next time we criticize their system and then, with that in mind, discuss the double standard in how we’ve treated Israel compared to how we treat Palestine.
First: the similarities between us (and our government) and the Palestinians (and Hamas):
We: recently elected a government not because we necessary liked the platform but because the Liberals were corrupt. (which, incidentally, is an argument that Tory supporters use to defend their government’s actions: they say “well, you may not like what they’re doing, but at least we keep our promises.”)
The Palestinians: recently elected a government not because they necessarily liked the platform but because Fatah was corrupt. (which, incidentally, is also an argument that Hamas supporters use to defend their government’s actions)
We: reserve the right to resort to violence and force to get what we want (and have encourage Israel to use force and violence against their enemies – our illustrious leader, recall, said Israel’s deserved praise for their “measured” response in attacking the Lebanese this past summer)
The Palestinians: reserve the right to resort to violence and force to get what they want.
We: Refuse to recognize Palestine as a sovereign entity in direct contravention with the wishes of the Balfour Declaration.
The Palestinians: Hamas refuses to recognize Israel as a sovereign entity in direct contravention with the wishes of the Balfour Declaration (but Fatah does).
Second: The double standard in how we have treated Israel compared to how we treat Palestine:
When Ariel Sharon (known in Lebanon as the ‘Butcher of Beirut’ due to his role in the slaughter of civilian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila massacres) and Ehud Olmert broke away from the far-right Likud Party to form the slightly-less right-wing Likud-Labour coalition party of Kadima, they were praised as the best chance for peace (see this Fox News transcript for just one example of the fawning over Sharon and Kadima).
So, some of Israel’s least peace-loving people (granted, not as bad as Netanyahu, but bad nonetheless) get together and form a coalition party and then form government and they’re all of a sudden sultans of peace and the best hope for peace.
Yesterday, Hamas and Fatah got together and formed a grand coalition unity government (to imagine how significant that is, imagine the Liberals and the Conservatives agreeing to share power in the name of peace). How does this move compare in the West with how we treated Israel’s similar attempt? Well, a senior Washington State Department official is quoted by Time (here) as saying “Peace is not at hand”, and the US has been sending signals that they’re not impressed (click here) and that they may stand by their initial conviction that they will not work with any government containing any member of Hamas (despite the fact that Hamas won a fair and democratic election).
The myth that Canada is a force for peace in the world has always been pretty thin, but compared to our normal hypocrisy on these matters, even this is blatant. How much longer do you think we can continue to hold on to the lie that our country is a peace-loving country and not merely another agent for the continuation of one country’s domination over another?