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Chris Hayes: U.S. helps terrorism ‘brings strategic benefits’ in Middle East

By Samantha Kimmey
Sunday, November 25, 2012 20:33 EDT
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Good news “can sometimes seem in short supply” in the Middle East, said Chris Hayes during his MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes.

But a recent ceasefire was celebrated by many Gazans, although met with mixed opinion from Israelis, as 49 percent were opposed to the ceasefire.

Gazan’s suffered over 100 deaths, including that of its military commander, as well as the destruction of government buildings and munitions.

But the ceasefire read in part, “Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.” It also says that Israel is to stop “restricting residents’ free movements” in that region.

“If it holds, and that is definitely a big if at this moment, it will represent a net benefit to the estimated 1.7 million people living in the Gaza Strip,” Hayes said.

But he goes on to argue that while Hamas has secured gains for Gazans through rocket fire into Israel, the Palestinian Authority — which represents Palestinians in the West Bank and is headed by Mahmoud Abbas — has gotten nothing in return for renouncing violence, recognizing the right for Israel to exist, and forgoing the “right to return” for Palestinians to get back land their families owned before 1948. Instead, there are even more settlements in the West Bank now than when Abbas first took over the Authority.

Hayes then shows an old clip of Barack Obama discussing terrorism when he was just senator-elect for Illinois in 2005.

“Ultimately terrorism is a tactic,” Obama said at the time. “To the extent that we can change the sense of opportunity in many of these countries and we can change the manner in which we function in these countries in more positive, proactive ways, then we’re not going to eliminate terrorism entirely but we’re at least going to be able to make more of a dent than if all we’re resorting to is military firepower.”

Hayes says he agrees with that former position and then asks, “What message is the Israeli government, and the U.S. government that supports it, sending when it makes choices that result in Hamas being able to point to its many victories and leaves Mahmoud Abbas and his government totally impotent and humiliated, roundly viewed as feckless and failed?”

“We in the U.S. are creating the conditions in which terrorism, the great evil we have pledged ourselves to vanquish, brings strategic benefits, while the path of nonviolence leads to a dead end,” he argued.

While panelist Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine agreed that the Palestinian Authority essentially had nothing to show for its efforts to negotiate peacefully, he disagreed that Hamas had anything significant to show for its actions, claiming the ceasefire was “very vague.”

Watch the video, via MSNBC, below.

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