Peace Talks Under Cloud as Hamas Murders Four Israeli Civilians
by Dan Ehrlich

The murder of four Israeli civilians by Hamas in the West Bank not only bodes ill for the Washington DC peace talks, but bodes ill for any state being formed there other than a state of anarchy and terror.

The fact that Hamas gunmen could so freely move out of their Gaza constituency and travel, possibly through Israel to the West Bank for the expressed purpose of killing some Jews reveals a continued weakening of the official Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' hold on his part of the divided kingdom.

Hamas has made a habit of some sensational acts before such meetings, hoping to either wreck the talks or at least let the world know that any peace talks will have to be made with it as well. But, since Hamas is a terrorist group at war with Israel, such negotiations are not in the cards.

Still, President Abbas will be there trying to at least negotiate a half of a Palestinian state for the West Bank of the Jordan River and one of the questions I'm sure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask him is: How can you have a state where terrorists can run free?

If this isn't absurd enough, every time one of these negotiations takes place the media hype centers around what the Israelis, the victors in the 1967 and 1973 wars, will offer. But the meetings always end with the Palestinians, the losers, dictating their terms to Israel and then rejecting what's on the table. Rational people who constantly are defeated in war don't make conditions for peace, they just want the violence to stop. This, unfortunately, isn't Palestinian reasoning.

What we in the west, and especially left-wingers, fail to understand is the Arab mindset. For us, our desires and aspirations may change through the decades. But this isn't how it works in Arab world. Guided by the words of the Koran, they will never accept the infidel, especially in a position of power, in their midst. They may negotiate now, but only to prepare for a better position later. How much later? Their vision is timeless. Their societies for the most part stagnant, going nowhere. In a sense, this is their main strength. The infidel nations rise and fall, but the Arab nations just continue on as they have for centuries.

Both Israeli and Palestinian officials maintain the talks will continue despite the Hamas attack and its long held objection to such talks. However, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised a tough response to an attack he said was aimed at sabotaging the talks, "Israel will not allow terrorists to raise their heads and will exact a price from the murderers and those who send them," he said in a statement.

U.N. envoy Robert Serry issued a statement condemning the attack and urging all parties "not to allow the enemies of peace to affect the negotiations about to be launched."

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