With the probable approach of a third intifada, in which Hamas-led forces once again, in defiance of international law, press Palestinian civilians into service as human shields, using homes, schools and community centres as rocket launching pads, Michael Weiss, in a guest post at Harry’s Place, asks whether the Hamas movement has seen the fundamental error that prevents it from achieving success, It needs, he suggests, to learn a lesson not from the Arab but from the Jewish past:
Palestinians lack a viable political program that places statehood, peaceful coexistence, and socioeconomic wellbeing at the fore, where these interests don’t require academic specialists to decipher them. Call it Fatah without the kleptocracy, or social democracy with teeth. In searching for such a program, or at least the philosophical underpinnings that precede it, Palestinians might take a lesson from an unlikely tutor: 19th-century Zionists. Was there ever any problem Diaspora Jews faced that they thought could not be solved by the temporary salves of charity and favorable international publicity? What the early Zionists came to realize was that without first addressing the integral political crisis of the Jewish nation, the cultural and humanitarian concerns would never be adequately resolved. For today’s Gazans, an ambulance driver who swears upon the Protocols of the Elders of Zion may serve a proximate physical need, but can he really serve a long-term national interest?