24 May 2006

Peace in installments or you just wait...

The press made a big deal out of the latest utterance of the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Haaretz put up a misleading headline:

Hamas PM Haniyeh: Retreat to 1967 borders will bring peace

The small letters of the article tell a different story:

"If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, peace will prevail and we will implement a cease-fire [hudna] for many years," Haniyeh said during an interview in his south Gaza office. "Our government is prepared to maintain a long-term cease-fire with Israel."

So, "peace will prevail" on one hand and "a cease-fire[hudna]" on the other. In other words, nothing new happened, same pitiful attempts to put some gloss over the same old and ugly face. Still the same offer of a hudna. Does it become more attractive when repeated multiple times? Hardly.

This time, however, another Hamas leader put a new feature into the offer:

Palestinian Transportation Minister Ziad Zaza described the hudna during the interview as "the cease-fire that will be renewed automatically each time."
Since we have not seen yet the whole contract draft, I wonder where is the clause of "Termination For Convenience"? In other words, does Hamas intend to warn us in advance when they get a club big enough to bash our collective head in?

Guardian, on the other hand, appears to take an attitude of detachment. In the article mostly dedicated to Olmert's Washington visit, Suzanne Goldenberg and Chris McGreal (who else, indeed, but these two experts in Middle Eastern affairs) say:

Earlier yesterday, the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, told the Israeli press that Hamas would call a long-term ceasefire if Israel withdrew from all the land it occupied in the 1967 war. But the statement, a reiteration of Hamas's stated policy, falls short of western demands for the Islamist group to recognise Israel.

So the requirement of mutual recognition and rejection of the murderous Hamas charter is not something a normal person would request. It is "western demands" only. Nice touch.

On a related subject: I have just happened to stumble on these two pictures one after another:

No, no, I am not trying to hint that Haniyeh and Clooney were separated at birth, the likeness is too superficial in this case.

I can only state that I have a suspicion now who is the role model for Haniyeh's make-up team...