A shift in the Obama administration thinking on Israel and Palestine which would allow the administration to fund a Palestinian government that had Hamas members is causing uproar in some Jewish circles.
But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is using the Northern Ireland analogy as an example of how important it is to encourage guerilla groups to become part of the political process.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Clinton had “defended the administration's position last week before Congress. She said that the United States supports and funds the Lebanese government, even though it includes members of Hezbollah, another militant group on the U.S. terrorist list.”
The L.A. Times reported that, “She contended that the United States should try to gradually change the attitudes of Hamas members, as it did with militants in Northern Ireland, where it helped broker a deal that included the Irish Republican Army, even though not all of its members agreed.”
Interesting to see Northern Ireland being used as an example again of what can be achieved. Certainly Clinton and Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell have more than enough experience on that issue.
Obama is pressing the case that whether or not America or Israel likes it, Hamas was a duly elected government and to not do business with them would be foolhardy in the extreme.
Clinton is correct in that assumption. The only way to win over the majority of Hamas is to show them a path to political clout, not military success.