Thursday, October 06, 2005

Negotiating with terrorists

Got into a web debate on openDemocracy today.

Hi Brian

It would seem that you are not attracted to the idea of negotiating with terrorists.

Your parody of negotiations have nothing to do with reality. I, like you, happen to firmly believe that the existence of the state of Israel is absolutely non-negotiable, but I also believe that some aspects of the behaviour of Israel are highly negotiable. For example, shootings of the kind that happened to Tom Hurndall and Rachael Correy - not to mention the thousands of Palestinian civilians killed. And I hasten to add that I do not forget the action of Hamas &c in killing thousands of Israeli civilians. I hate all terrorism. We all do. But this does not stop us from negotiating with terrorists. All conflict is just a state of affairs that precedes negotiation. We Brits negotiated with Israeli terrorists to give them the state of Israel. The British Government was negotiating with the IRA long before the Good Friday agreement. America has quietly pulled most of its bases out of Saudi Arabia.

Everyone does it, all the time. Politicians just don't like talking about it in public, that's all.

You disagree with the proffered solution:
"There is a way out of this mess; it means involving
all of us - both sides - in a co-operative effort in fighting injustice and oppression wherever it is
found, and in a sustained effort to prevent and
recover from environmental degradation."

Apologies, I did not make myself clear. By "both sides" I mean the ethnic groups that are being fought over, not specifically OBL. The threat posed by Osama does not reside in his person, but in his ability to attract others to him. They come to him because they are dissatisfied, oppressed by their (often secular, sometimes Islamic, always non-democratic) governments, and by the threat of lack of water, soil fertility, lack of trees, environmental degredation, poor housing, lack of electricity, and other basic facilities. If they were empowered to attend to these problems by the international community, they would have neither the inclination nor the energy to join up with OBL and his deadly crew.

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