Hamas and Iggy

Canada’s new right wing government has cut ties with the Palestinian Authority’s new Hamas government because, “it has not addressed the concerns raised by Canada and others concerning non-violence, the recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap for Peace.” This action includes the suspension of all Canadian financial aid, except that which flows through NGOs.

Some things about this development strike me as odd:

  1. It’s still early in Hamas’s mandate. Why not wait a couple of months and see how they behave before taking such drastic diplomatic actions?
  2. Canada does not send money to Hamas; it sends it to the Palestinian Authority. This may seem like a nitpicky point, but is this not unlike judging Canada by its ruling party and not by its structure of governance?
  3. Arafat, as the head of the Palestinian Authority, formally recognized Israel. As Hamas is now heading the PA and has not (yet) rescinded Arafat’s recognition, why is this (lack of) action not considered de facto recognition of Israel? Surely, any other government in the world would be given such deference.

The answer, sadly, is that Canada’s Conservative government is playing to its base and to the Jewish lobby, which has traditionally been supportive of Conservative ambitions in this country. All politics are local, after all. This is a shame. Hamas should be given the benefit of the doubt until they deviate dramatically, and confrontationally, from the path set down by its predecessors.

Meanwhile, Michael Ignatieff all but announces his bid for Liberal leadership. In a fairly good speech, he tried to lessen his substantial political baggage. His support of the Iraq War is now being couched as a “beliefs of the private citizen” vs “more reasoned position of the political leader” thing, which strikes me as sadly duplicitous. Iggy, if you still support the war, say so and tell us why. If you’ve changed your mind, admit it. The truth shall set ye free. Also, some weasely words were offered to explain away his defence of torture; and to those who have not read his actual writings on the topic, this might actually work. But to those of us familiar with his writings, he’s got a lot more ‘splainin’ to do.