The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The Economist does its bit for Zion

The Economist, true to its (for the last few years at least) increasingly pro-Israel tilt (in the leaders, not the reporting), attempts at an analysis of Khaled Meshaal's recent remark that Israel exists:

Why, then, the stubborn refusal to just go the extra yard and recognise Israel now, especially as the result is the crushing sanctions regime? Many members of Hamas say that they will not recognise Israel's right to exist and may not do so even if Israel were to withdraw right back to the pre-1967 “green line”. The official ideology of Hamas is clear enough. It refuses in principle the idea of a Jewish state in any part of Palestine at all. Israel's position, on the other hand, is that it accepts the right of the Palestinians to a state in the West Bank and Gaza, but says that the final border should be set by negotiation. (Although Israel also says it wants to keep some of the West Bank’s land for existing settlements and security purposes.) There may be another reason for Hamas's intransigence that has nothing to do with Israel's stance: recognising Israel could lose it the support of its biggest foreign ally, Iran.
So if Hamas recognized an Israeli state, but was not willing to settle on borders, and perhaps had in mind just Tel Aviv, would that be ok? Accepting the Israelis' definition of what they recognize Palestine to be is ridiculous -- particularly as their "negotiated" plans have been unacceptable to Palestinians, or for that matter international law. You might even argue that Meshaal's statement is in fact a much more honest and generous one since he delineated Israel along the 1967 borders -- even though the Palestinian claim to 1948 Palestine is entirely legitimate. It is completely dishonest to label Hamas, which appears to be making efforts towards a 1967 borders compromise, as the unreasonable partner here. And the throwaway comment about Iran at the end is risible if not backed with some sort of evidence that Hamas is thinking this way.

More pathetic even is the following:

In its attempts to regain control, Hamas is resorting to the same tactics of co-option and strong-arming that made Fatah despised. Even if it were to do an about-face and accept all the world’s conditions, it is doubtful that it could reassert the role it was meant to play as an elected government. The hair-splitting dispute over words is just another a depressing indication that neither side is yet ready to make a serious push for peace.
Basically, a position that benefits the status quo, and thus Israel. You're not likely to see the Economist pressing the Israelis anytime soon, it seems.