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    Gerry Adams to meet Hamas leaders


    by Leon on 4th September, 2006 at 4:16 pm    

    This is an interesting move that’s sure to get some people up in arms; how do you characterise this; former terrorist meets present day terrorist? Political leader meets emerging political leader? Without doubt this throws a spanner in the works for the whole “all terrorists are the same” propaganda offensive of Bush and Blair.

    Perhaps Adams genuinely does want to help (after all the peace process shows you can engage “terrorist” organisations toward a shared political end) or maybe he just wants to grab some of the limelight ahead of Blair’s visit?

    Whatever the angles at play here it’s good to see actions like this because they allow space for a nuanced understanding the Middle Eastern conflicts. The Us vs Them mentality helps no one and maybe it’s better a statesman like Adam does the job than a partisan like Blair?

    Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Féin, is due to fly to the Middle East tomorrow to meet Hamas representatives and lend his support to the search for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    “The Sinn Féin leadership has shared [its] experience of the Irish peace process with those seeking peaceful alternatives to conflict,” Mr Adams said. “It is imperative that genuine negotiation and dialogue between the representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli people commences as quickly as possible.

    “While no two conflicts are identical there are key conflict resolution principles which can be applied in any situation. These include inclusive dialogue, respect for electoral mandates and respect for human rights and international law.” [via The Guardian]

    Update: Looks like the visit didn’t go quite as well as intended.



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    30 Comments below   |  

    1. Jagdeep — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:24 pm  

      They’ll like his beard. It will make them trust him more I reckon. Martin McGuiness, or the other one with just a moustache, probably would not make them feel as relaxed.

    2. Roger — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

      Gerry Adams a statesman?

    3. AsifB — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

      Leon, I hate to disagree, but it looks like more ‘us and them’ to me.

      Glasgow Celtic supporters like to wind up Rangers fans by being vocally pro-Palestinian and vice versa - in the name of the Irish being victims of the British empire and all that.

      Although this is historically true (and Brits all too easily overlook the large number of killing sby Protestant paramilitaries during the Troubles) , in the context of the post 1969 IRA for which Adams was a de facto spokesperson, there is more than a small element of self aggrandisment and an attempt at retrosepctive spin to morally equivocate IRA bombs with PLO.

      Fact is - throughout the Troubles, people in Northern Ireland had complete cross border freedom of movement and the right to vote in both the UK and the Republic - so in fact it was less justified for the IRA to plant bombs against the Brits than it was for the PLO to fight Israel.

      Now that there is more sympathy for the Palestinian cause, Adams is trying to get some retrospective justifciation by association - much as was done when Mandela was released.

      NB: I am not trying to justify British crimes in Ireland or occupation - I just think - as they themsleves realised, the Provisonal IRA’s mainland bombings were not justified that’s all (OK I admit, I’m a tube user and coward)

      I agree with Jagdeep about the beard thing.

      Much aa bit of dialogue

    4. Leon — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

      AsifB, no probs constructive disagreement is always welcome. You raise some good points although I’m not convinced the IRA were justified in their bombing campaign I think there are similarities between British occupation of NI and Israels occupation of parts of Palestine. That said, what Gerry Adams is playing at I don’t know, hence my many questions…

    5. Bert Preast — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

      Sinn Fein were only allowed into talks after renouncing violence. I don’t see Hamas going for it. Just another way for them to show their supporters how much of a big world player they are.

    6. Katy — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

      Anything that starts the negotiation ball rolling is a good thing. I don’t know if this would be that thing or not.

    7. AsifB — on 4th September, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

      Leon, Given the world we live in, I do wish jaw jaw well.

      But, much as I want to sing along with Celtic supporters and hate the British Empire, (and thought the bit where they played Voodoo Chile in ‘In the Name of the Father’ was terrific fun) - it does also seem true that except for a few days here and there in the early 70s, Northern Ireland was no where near as bad as being a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories - true I would regard living in the Bogside as a prison, but everyone there still had a vote in two states (admittedly gerrymandered before 68) and cross border freedom of movement without total humilation. Plus the neighbouring state wasn’t blitzed by the RAF at every possible opportunity for 30 years.

    8. Leon — on 4th September, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

      Anything that starts the negotiation ball rolling is a good thing. I don’t know if this would be that thing or not.

      As ever Katy you’ve articulated my underlying feelings on this subject…I hope it does come to something positivie I guess we’ll see…

    9. Chairwoman — on 4th September, 2006 at 5:26 pm  

      Come on folks, he’s going for the ‘Beards of terror’ competition!

    10. Sunny — on 4th September, 2006 at 5:28 pm  

      Haha chairwoman!
      I think my brother will beat them all. Sorry I don’t have the pics though to show.

      I’m with AsifB on this. Looks a bit of politicking to me.

    11. Jagdeep — on 4th September, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

      Maybe the western leaders should all grow beards in order to wrong-foot these wily oriental chaps. Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not be fooled.

    12. Leon — on 4th September, 2006 at 5:39 pm  

      Hmmm, I can grow a mean beard if I want to, maybe I should ask the government if they’ll pay for an all expenses paid ‘diplomatic’ mission to the ME!?

    13. The Common Humanist — on 5th September, 2006 at 10:27 am  

      AsifB,
      So that means you think that IRA bombs in NI were justified? So the pensioners at Inniskillen were legitimate military targets? Really. All those civilians murdered. OK as long as in NI and not on the mainland…….I wonder how your mind works?

    14. Kismet Hardy — on 5th September, 2006 at 10:28 am  

      I can’t grow a full beard :(

      It only grows as a goatee that turns wispy after a while. Born to be beatnik :( :(

    15. Kismet Hardy — on 5th September, 2006 at 10:37 am  

      What if…

      Bono wrote a song for the Hamas?

      I can’t believe the news on Al-Jazeera today
      Oh, I can pack my bags and blow them all away
      How long, how long must we sing this song?
      Cause tonight, we can be as one
      Tonight…
      Broken mortars under children’s feet
      Bodies strewn across the dead end street
      Still they won’t heed the azaan call
      It puts my rucksack up
      Puts my rucksack up against the wall
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      (alright let’s go!)

      And the battle’s just begun
      There’s many lost, but Allah’s already won
      The fear is dug within our hearts
      And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      Jihad, lovely Jihad
      (come get some!)

    16. AsifB — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:06 am  

      13. The Common Humanist - I thought I was being fairly unequivocal and making the point that Adams and the IRA were not justified in using violence.

      However, rather than choosing to infer that I may have been against all IRA violence, YOU choose to bring up langauage like ‘justified military targets’ and accuse me of supporting bombing in Northern Ireland.

      I do not care for how your mind works.

    17. Leon — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:09 am  

      Don’t worry about it AsifB it’s yet another example of straw man argueing…

    18. Kismet Hardy — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:21 am  

      Can we please burn the straw man? I hate him

    19. Vikrant a.k.a Amey — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:28 am  

      heh.. i loved Bloody Sunday (Hamas version).. we might as well do a version for YouTube… I’ll play the guitar…

    20. Leon — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:32 am  

      Oh christ, I could actually see that becoming massive too..*shakes head*

    21. Vikrant a.k.a Amey — on 5th September, 2006 at 11:36 am  

      post #19 addressed to Kismet btw…

    22. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 5th September, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

      Maybe he wants to help Hamas like his minons did for FARC?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4528109.stm

      Cheers,

      TFI

    23. Leon — on 5th September, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

      Maybe, it was one the things I thought of when I originally read the story.

      Interestingly some people try to distinguish groups like the IRA and AQ claiming the IRA aren’t a global threat. While that was true in terms of their bombing it wasn’t in terms of the networks they worked with. It is well known they had links with ETA for example as well as FARC (training, probably intel sharing etc).

    24. S — on 5th September, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

      “I think there are similarities between British occupation of NI and Israels occupation of parts of Palestine”

      A Celtic supporter writes:

      There has been a majority population who want to remain part of Britain consistently since Irish independence. There never was any justification for the IRAs bombing- they destroyed the legitimate civil rights movement amongst NI catholics. After all those years they gained nothing politically.

      “Glasgow Celtic supporters like to wind up Rangers fans by being vocally pro-Palestinian and vice versa - in the name of the Irish being victims of the British empire and all that.”

      There are a few numpties who like to sing “rebel songs” and wave silly flags- Palestine, Hamas etc. They are less and less common. I for one used to sympathise with the Palestinians but lost patience with their nihilism a long time ago.

    25. AsifB — on 5th September, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

      S no.24: S - Thank for your comment about ‘numpties.’ I agree with you totally that the IRA’s bombing destroyed the legitimate civil rights movement.

      In no.3 I should have course used the word “Some” ahead of the sentence “Glasgow Celtic supporters etc..
      It was wrong of me to give the impression of generalising and stereotyping - sorry.

    26. bananabrain — on 6th September, 2006 at 11:13 am  

      the major similarity between ireland and israel/palestine is that the problem was largely perpetuated by the british drawing a line down the middle and then buggering off to leave the groups on either side to fight it out, whilst standing around wringing their hands and saying “see, the empire wasn’t so bad, was it, you’ll appreciate us once we’ve left.”

      other examples of this sterling strategy include india/pakistan and of course the ever-popular cyprus.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    27. Leon — on 6th September, 2006 at 11:46 am  

      other examples of this sterling strategy include india/pakistan and of course the ever-popular cyprus.

      Yep.

    28. bananabrain — on 6th September, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

      except the cypriots - both turks and greeks - live here in london and pretty much seem to get on OK as far as i can tell, having grown up in southgate. at least the younger ones do. and, of course, it’s heartwarming to see them recreate the cyprus green line at the st. ann’s road traffic lights. heading north, once you reach the cyprus potato marketing board, it’s dolmades, souvlaki and kleftiko all the way, but head south past the kibris bankasi and you’re right in with the dolma, doner and kahveciler crowd. just don’t mention the kurds who live further down green lanes.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    29. Leon — on 6th September, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

      It depends, like many things, on the generation. From my limited experience of both those communities it looks like the young ones have less problem but anyone over the age of say 35 remembers the problems of the past all too well.

    30. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 7th September, 2006 at 11:10 pm  

      “sterling strategy” not sure if that was an intentional pun but I liked it :)

      Leon your comments about the IRA are spot on.

      TFI

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