Where do political ideas end and terrorist acts begin? Is every destructive behaviour in the name of any political ideology just dandy, fine and justified, or are some societies distinguishable from others precisely because they employ civilised means of political expression and government (voting, debate, free speech) as opposed to ruling and arguing by violent threat and patently, deliberately, terrorising violence?
Call me a pro-life extremist but in my view, organisations cease to be mere political debating circles as soon as they reject real opportunities for reasonable discussion in favour of blowing people’s heads off.
The United Nations does not agree. Peter Hansen, the UN relief agency chief in Gaza, says:
Hamas as a political organisation does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another.
Israel begs to differ:
Israel’s ambassador to the UN criticised Mr Hansen’s comments. “The very idea that individuals with clear links to the Hamas terrorist network may be on the Unwra payroll is totally unacceptable and should be properly investigated,” Dan Gillerman said.
Now, I may be wrong about this, but I was under the vague impression that Hamas had actually committed acts of violence that represent a widening of the ‘political’ arena beyond reasonable limits, into, for example, murdering innocent people to further their aim of destroying Israel. Little clues like Hamas’ own words seemed to point that way:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it
If I was an Israeli, and Hamas was trying to obliterate me, and the UN was employing members of Hamas and their method of guaranteeing that they would not abuse their privileges in order to further their cause was this…
We demand of our staff, whatever their political persuasion is, that they behave in accordance with UN standards and norms for neutrality
… I would not be feeling particularly secure. I might even be inclined to think that Hamas/UN members were even capable of using ambulances to transport rockets instead of just sick people.
On the other hand, maybe I just missed the part of the Hamas declaration that says,
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, but of course we will behave in an entirely neutral fashion should we happen to lay our hands on any United Nations marked ambulances.
Both Hamas and the UN think they are above politics. One rejects it by engaging in terrorism, the other sniffily ‘demands’ neutrality and rejects ‘political vetting’. Meanwhile, the people who actually govern countries, trying to maintain citizens’ very basic freedom not to have their children blown to pieces, are obliged to deal with both. Perhaps one day they will no longer need to lower themselves so far.
(hat tip for both links and story: Not a Fish)