Prof. Suheir Daoud (currently at Harvey Mudd, has been at Pomona) writes against the Middle East peace process in The Balimore Sun. (October 24, 2007). Daoud, a pro-Palestinian academic and writer at the Claremont Colleges has a history of speaking out for radical Islam. She gave a talk several months ago titled ""Palestinian Women 'Suicide Bombers' and the Second Intifada." (Notice the use of quotations for suicide bombers.) She also authored a paper "Palestinian Women in Suicide Bombings: Causes and Motives," al-Adab (Beirut) 3\4 (2007), 12-23. Both articles blamed Israel for the Occupation and suggested that suicide bombing was the only means available for Arab women to address their complaints.
The Baltimore Sun article makes several bold and erroneous accusations, but the last and most damning falsehood comes at the end:
But instead of pushing for new Palestinian elections, the international community must have the courage to pressure Israel to end its occupation, because all efforts for peace will ultimately fail until that occurs.Putting aside the obvious --that Israel "occupies" the West Bank and Gaza because of repeated attacks on Israeli civilians and that any country would act to safeguard its citzenry-- Prof. Daoud fails to mention what constitutes "the occupation."
Surely this is no accident. By carefully not clarifying what she means by occupation, she allows it to mean all things to all Palestinian factions and allows that nuance to muddy in her reader. Hamas, which has openly said it will never accept an Israel the size of a postage stamp, should not be equated with the realistic concerns of Fatah and the legitimate Palestine Authority, which wants a state in Gaza and the West Bank and which recognizes Israel's right to exist.
Of course, Daoud advocates relations with Hamas. She casually mentions Hamas's thuggish behavior, but advocates that Israel recognize it.
Despite Hamas' thuggish behavior, the Bush administration, Israel and Fatah should not exclude Hamas from any dialogue on the conflict. Boycotting Hamas and other primary parties to the conflict, such as Syria, does not make them disappear.On the contrary, boycotting those organizations, denying them funds, and branding them as the terrorists they rightly are shows Hamas that its open support of terrror and murder will not be tolerated. Responsible "democracies" do not murder the opposition or use children as soldiers. The U.S. government rightly refuses to fund Hamas and should pressure its allies, Saudi Arabia, and other funders to quit it. Hamas, which openly calls for the killing of American targets, is not a reasonable party and cannot be included in the peace talks. Indeed, Daoud tips her hand and reveals her bias. She writes Hamas's "violent politics" will fail, not that they are reprehensible. Her criticism of Hamas amounts to little more than tactics. She avoids morality altogether.
Purporting to be an objective analyst for the peace process, Daoud never mentions that Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel, nor that many countries recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, unworthy of respect. This omission allows Daoud to use the boycott of Hamas as the reason for a failed peace talks.
Daoud's article couldn't come at a worse time. With the three major parties -- Israel, Fatah, and the U.S.-- facing low approval ratings they'll be more likely to make concessions because they don't have to play tough and because tensions have reached a make or break point. When Arafat rejected almost everything the Palestinians wanted, he did it because he knew that he could continue to wait out Clinton and Barak. Daoud knows this and yet she says that it's a bad time to conduct peace talks. Of course it's a bad time-- a bad time for Hamas. With Israel, Fatah, and the U.S. united on the need for stability, Hamas can be destroyed.
I would ask Daoud a simple question: "If not now, when? If not us, who?"
Exit questions: Why is someone who has such a history of advocacy for the Palestinian cause teaching an introductory course to Middle Eastern politics? What will her "Islamic studies" major look like when it's fully completed?