In psychology, there is a concept known as "enabling." It is not a positive thing. The connotation is that we do not help the addict/alcoholic/abuser by 'covering' for him, bailing him out of jail, paying his rent, etc. Only by forcing him to face the consequences of his actions and behaviors can we hope to truly help.
It would seem that the West has done the exact opposite for much of the last 40 years with the Palestinians and Arab extremists in general. After but a one-day suspension of the competition following the brutal murder of 11 Israelis in the '72 Munich Olympics, the world saw fit to let the games go on. And international cooperation at bringing the murderers (and the men behind them) to justice was not forthcoming. The Munich massacre was a pivotal moment in world history, arguably marking the birth of modern international terrorism. Had the world taken a firm stand and stated in no uncertain terms that such behavior was completely beyond the pale in the civilized world, things might look different today. Instead, two short years later, Arafat was welcomed at the United Nations like a statesman and the terrorists were off and running.
Today, the European Union, much of the European press, and the American Left perform every possible contortion to 'understand' and explain why Hamas' criminal, barbaric behavior is something that we should strive to accommodate in the hopes of reaching future accords. See two very different takes on this proposition below; one from The Economist (from the Seattle P-I's Sunday paper; the other from The Journal.
Also see Fouad Ajami's piece in Tuesday's Times at bottom
lSmashing Hamas won't bring peace to Palestine or Israel
Is there any point in trying, once the latest bloodshed subsides, to drag Hamas into the business of negotiating with Israel, despite its refusal so far to meet the conditions set by the big outside powers -- the United Nations, the European Union and so on -- as Hamas' price for having the devastating economic and diplomatic boycott against it lifted?
The answer is still yes. Most Palestinians, notably including even most of those who voted for Hamas, want a two-state solution in which a sovereign Palestinian state and a secure Israeli one must coexist side by side. Hamas knows it cannot ignore that view. Moreover, it did start groping, albeit in a maddeningly crabwise manner, towards meeting those conditions.
On the question of ending violence (the first of the three big ones), it had generally upheld a unilateral cease-fire that it unwisely broke earlier this year because, it says, of Israel killing too many Palestinians; and it has stopped its vile habit of suicide bombings.
At a meeting in February in Mecca, under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, as part of its agreement to join a Palestinian government of national unity with Fatah, Hamas said it would "honor" previous agreements made by the Palestine Liberation Organization (the second big demand), which in turn implied at least a de facto recognition of Israel (the third and perhaps most momentous demand).
So, what next?
Hamas has some way to go. But it has been shifting from its intransigent positions of the past. If it is true that it is too big to be ignored or destroyed and has been edging the right way, it surely follows that efforts must be redoubled to drag it further along the twisty road towards pragmatism and negotiation.
Arafat's Children: Gaza's Mayhem Is the Bitter Fruit of Terror as Statecraft -
Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
The cult of violence that has typified the Palestinian movement for much of its history has been tolerated and often celebrated by the international community. If Palestinians now think they can advance their domestic interests by violence, nobody should be surprised: The way of the gun has been paying dividends for 40 years.
In 1972 Palestinian terrorists murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Yet only two years later Arafat addressed the UN General Assembly - the first non-government official so honored. In 1970 Arafat attempted to overthrow Jordan's King Hussein and tried to do the same a few years later in Lebanon. Yet in 1980, the European Community, in its Venice Declaration, recognized Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization as a legitimate negotiating partner.
In 1993, Arafat was welcomed in the White House for the signing of the Oslo Accords with Israel. That same year, the British National Criminal Intelligence Service reported that the PLO made its money from "extortion, payoffs, illegal arms-dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering and fraud."
In 2000, Arafat rejected an Israeli offer of statehood midwifed by President Clinton and instead initiated the bloody intifada that left 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians dead.
Pressure will surely mount on Israel and the U.S. to accept Hamas' ascendancy and begin negotiations with its leaders. But is it wise to negotiate with a group that kills its fellow Palestinians almost as freely as it does Israelis? And what would there be to negotiate about? A suspension of hostilities in exchange for renewed international funding would simply give Hamas time and money to consolidate its rule and rebuild an arsenal for future terror assaults.
A society that has spent the last decade celebrating suicide bombing has inevitably become a victim of its own nihilistic impulses. It is the bitter fruit of the decades of dictatorship and terrorism as statecraft that Yasser Arafat instilled among Palestinians.
Brothers to the Bitter End - Fouad Ajami
Some envision a secular Fatah-run state living peacefully alongside Israel and a small, radical Gaza hemmed in by Israeli troops. But in this case it's sheer fantasy. No other national movement has had the indulgence granted the Palestinians over the last half-century, and the results can be seen in the senseless violence and the inability of a people to come to terms with their condition and their needs. An accommodation with Israel is imperative - if only out of economic self-interest and political necessity - but the Palestinians, in a democratic experiment some 18 months ago, tipped power to a Hamas movement whose very charter is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and the imposition of Islamist rule. (New York Times)