Saturday, January 28, 2006

Palestine's Likud

The debate continues to rage over the consequences of the election in Palestine.

A bit of historical perspective never hurts when dealing with issues like this.

A commentator in Haaretz draws an interesting comparison between the sudden appearance of Likud on the political scene of Israel in 1977 and what we see in Palestine today.

In both cases it was a fundamental challenge to the existing order - Labour in Israel and Fatah in Palestine. In both cases it was parties advocating expansionist ideas - Likud wanted a Greater Israel that left no room for any Palestinians, and the Charter of Hamas certainly has no room for Israel.

Over time, Likud changed. As a matter of fact it was Begin who received Sadat in Jerusalem and concluded the peace with Egypt that also meant the evacuation of a town the Israelis has built in northern Sinai.

It was most traumatic.

And the change among some of the Likud leaders, notably Ariel Sharon, continued. When he stood before the UN General Assembly last year and supported the creation of a Palestine state it was an endorsement of a policy that had nothing with the text of the Likud Charter to do.

And since then he and many others have broken off from Likud to form the Kadima party. A confrontational rump is left.

Will Hamas go the way of Likud?

History seldom repeats itself. But neither does it just stand still. To some extent we can even shape it.

That will be the big discussion when the leaders of the Quartet sit down for dinner in London on Monday.

They will not have much time for the food.

Haaretz - Israel News - Article