Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

The NI peace process has lessons for Israel and Hamas

Thu 22 November 2012, 12:47pm

Richard Haass President Bush’s envoy to Northern Ireland and now head of a  leading foreign affairs advisory board,  has a piece in the Financial  Times (£) headlined “Israel should learn from Northern Ireland.” The first lessons are not those touted by the former paramilitaries but those learned  by the governments.  As he has said before, Haass puts Israel in a roughly equivalent role to that of the British government in the peace process.

Israel needs to put Hamas to the test. It can do this by putting forward the outlines of a fair and comprehensive settlement and a reasonable path for getting there. The US should work closely with Israel in framing this proposal. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, should use the rest of her time in the region to urge this course. Her goal should be to stimulate a debate in the Arab and Palestinian worlds that would press Hamas to change its ways or risk being caught between those who are even more radical and those prepared to compromise.

This was the dynamic created in Belfast. In the end, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness – the leaders of Northern Ireland’s Hamas equivalent – met the British challenge..

 

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Comments (22)

  1. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Haass puts Israel in a roughly equivalent role to that of the British government in the peace process”

    I don’t think this analogy fits the lead-up to the 1998 Agreement. There were two Governments involved – London and Dublin – several local political parties and loyalist and republican paramilitaries. The early proposals would have been jointly drafted by London and Dublin, indeed Dublin may have taken the lead. Subsequent modifications were made to accommodate the local parties and the paramilitaries.

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  2. Barnshee (profile) says:

    Palestinians should also put Israel “to the test.” A long period of peace will produce nothing for the Palestinians— this is why it is essential — it will further expose the Israel for what it is a land of gangsters, land thieves and murderers

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  3. Framer (profile) says:

    The reality of the so-called peace process was simply and no more that the Provos decided to do politics, initially with guns and eventually without.
    All the rest was housekeeping and low dusting.
    For the IRA read Hamas.
    For Israel read UK/Irish governments and the other political parties.

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  4. JoeBryce (profile) says:

    Surely the analogy is: for the PUL, read Israel, for the RCN, read Hamas,for the British government, read the USA, and for the Irish government – well, isn’t that the problem, because the Palestinians have no international sponsor who even approaches the weight and credibility of the sponsors for Israel.

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  5. weidm7 (profile) says:

    As I remember it, there were stirrings of attempted peace talks on the IRA side long before the British government was willing to contenance them, say what you like about him, but Tony Blair was the first to actually consider talking to the other side.

    I don’t think people will need an invitation, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

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  6. CoisteBodhar (profile) says:

    I seem to recall an interview with Major saying how he wanted to negogiate a deal but he couldn’t be seen to do so publicly.

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  7. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Tony Blair was the first to actually consider talking to the other side.”

    weidm7, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were talking to the UK government way back in 1972 and, presumably, there have been numerous conversations in between. Douglas Hurd, the then UK Foreign Secretary was talking to Martin McGuinness and Mitchell McLaughlin in 1993 – despite the denials of Patrick Mayhew, the then Secretary of State. Sinn Fein was just one of several local groupings to the engage in exchanges that led to the 1998 Agreement; it was also at that time a minority in the local Nationalist family.

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  8. RepublicanStones (profile) says:

    Israel needs to put Hamas to the test. It can do this by putting forward the outlines of a fair and comprehensive settlement and a reasonable path for getting there.

    A fair and comprehensive has been on the table for a decade. The Arab peace plan, which includes full normalization with the Arab states. But Israel has routinely rejected it. And to suggest the US should play an even more intimate role is beyond absurd. Its involvement is part of the problem.

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  9. BarneyT (profile) says:

    I am concerned about Hamas’ need to declare victory….on the back of the negotiated cease fire. What is the point in that?

    Its unreasonable behaviour which will help the Isrealies justify their unjustifiable needs and wants at home

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  10. pauluk (profile) says:

    If I were an IRA man I would be insulted to be connected with an organisation that deliberately sacrifices its children in order to try to score a point or two in world opinion.

    Hama’s cynical abuse of the people of Gaza in its ‘struggle’ against Israel (by locating weapons, launch pads and communication facilities in civilian areas like schools, mosques, housing, etc) ought to be condemned without question.

    But have we ourselves become so cynical that we no longer recognise the moral depravity of such actions and prefer to find a scapegoat in Israel?

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  11. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    like schools, mosques, housing, etc

    Just because Israel say so, doesn’t mean it’s true. Even if it were true, and I would ask you for independent evidence to suggest it does happen, it is against the Geneva Convention, and international humanitarian law, for Israel and Hamas to attack civilians. These are war crimes under international law. War crimes carried out by both sides.

    The New York Times has an article, outlining why US policy on the issue is failing, not only Israeli’s, but also Palestinians.

    The real intentions of the Israeli government and their terrorist army, is outlined in this interview.

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  12. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Here’s another article detailing the condemnation of both Hamas and Israels’ attacks on civilians, by the Red Cross and the U.N.’s human rights chief.

    If you want to accuse one side of using human shields, why not be objective and look at both sides?

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  13. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    This is all to familiar for us here in ‘Ulster’. Occupying forces doing what they do best!

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  14. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    This is also interesting, when comparing Orange attitudes to Catholics in Ireland, to Israeli attitudes of Arabs in Israel.

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  15. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Jimmy Carter’s view on Palestine…

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  16. pauluk (profile) says:

    galloglaigh,

    Waken up!

    Arabs enjoy greater social freedom in Israel that in any other Middle East country.

    Hamas has a culture of death. They deliberately expose Palestinians to danger and death, and they glory is shedding blood. The suffering of the Palestinians of Gaza is completely self-inflicted.

    Hamas’s goal is to ‘obliterate’ the State of Israel. Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in a sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza in 2008 that “Jews are a people whose fate is their vanishing.”

    Israel has both a right to exist, and to defend itself from such amoral monsters.

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  17. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    pauluk

    Can you provide any independent evidence for your points, or are they just point of view?

    Arabs enjoy greater social freedom in Israel that in any other Middle East country

    Bullshit. Utter bullshit. They can’t get on certain buses, roads, and districts. That doesn’t happen ordinarily in any other ME country. They don’t have equality in Israel and that is a fact.

    Hamas has a culture of death

    So does Israel. The views of a majority of Israeli Jews are commonly known. The two teenage girls in the link above prove that. That is how far it is ingrained in their ethos. They are in many ways similar to the Arabs. They have a similar stance; they have a similar disregard for their fellow humans.

    Hamas’s goal is to ‘obliterate’ the State of Israel

    Israeli’s goal is to ‘obliterate‘ the Palestinians. The hatred goes both ways. The son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in an editorial in the Jerusalem Post, called for Gaza to be flattened like the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.

    Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the goal of Operation Pillar of Defence is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.

    Palestinians, and the Palestinian state, has both a right to exist, and to defend itself from such amoral monsters. The immorality goes both ways. It is you and others like you who need wakening up.

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  18. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Here’s an example of the ‘greater social freedom‘ they enjoy in Israel.

    Catch yourself on.

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  19. pauluk (profile) says:

    galloglaigh,

    independent evidence?

    From the horses mouth is even better: check out this video on YouTube of Hamas talking about Palestinians desiring death and Israelis desiring life. (better hurry though- they want to censor from youtube what Hamas is actually saying to its people)

    ***

    Arabs enjoy greater social freedom in Israel that in any other Middle East country

    Bullshit. Utter bullshit.

    Ha! In that case, name another country in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy greater social freedoms than they do in Israel! With 7th century fanatics in charge, there’s not much room in these Muslim-controlled countries for women’s rights, mixed marriages, gay rights, drinking alchohol or little else that Arabs currently enjoy in the only democracy in the region: Israel.

    galloglaigh, you behave yourself now. Have a good life!

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  20. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Paul

    Your comments are full of innuendo and bullshit. I’ve given enough information. It’s fine if you support international terrorism. But at least be objective.

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  21. southernrhodesia (profile) says:

    @Barnshee

    You said “Palestinians should also put Israel “to the test.” A long period of peace will produce nothing for the Palestinians— this is why it is essential — it will further expose the Israel for what it is a land of gangsters, land thieves and murderers”

    I expect a long period of peace will produce lots of big new Israeli Occupation Authority settlements….In an area as tiny and already crowded as the State of Palestine, they haven’t too much land they can let go of.

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  22. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    I see Israel has advanced its illegal occupation policy, by evacuating a whole village of Palestinians last night. This to make way for an illegal settlement. When will the supposed democratic western world act on this ethnic cleansing?

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