The victory of Hamas in the recent Palestinian legislative elections rendered a clear verdict on the future of the peace process.
While Fatah could never quite bring itself to accept peace with Israel or completely renounce terrorism, it had agreed to do so at least in principle. But the radical Islamists of Hamas split no such hairs. They believe in the destruction of the State of Israel, and support terrorism in order to bring it about. Far from being peripheral, such stands and the campaign of incitement against Jews that go with them remain integral to the group's reason for being.
But so strong is the hope for peace that many people today - despite all indications to the contrary - cling to the belief that "progress" is possible. Using this slender reed of faith, these people call for Israel and the United States to suspend disbelief about Hamas' intentions and keep foreign dollars flowing to the Palestinian Authority, which the terrorist group will now control.
That some on the fringes consider Hamas' depredations to be no worse than Israel's efforts at self-defense against suicide bombers and rocket attacks doesn't come as much of a surprise. The inability of many to tell the difference between the victims and the perpetrators continues apace. But it's imperative that the rest of us not succumb to the lunacy of embracing Hamas as just another political party. Hamas may be willing to accept a temporary truce with Israel to strengthen itself for future battles, but its leaders do not lie about their intentions, even in their statements made in English for foreign consumption. Palestinians may have elected Hamas in part because of the failures of Fatah, but voters were not tricked into electing Islamist terrorists.
And so, just as Hamas is truthful with us, the civilized world's response must be just as unequivocal. The response of both the United States and the European Union ought to be as transparent as the Hamas platform: No dealings with or aid to terrorist governments, and no pressure on Israel to do so either.
We support the efforts of many in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, who seek to ban any further aid to the P.A. while it's led by Hamas. If - out of a misguided notion of pity for the genuine suffering of the Palestinian people - we budge on these principles, we'll be heading down a slippery slope that will lead to even more bloodshed than the folly of Oslo.
Last week's commemoration of the Holocaust at the United Nations has been greeted with gratitude by most Jews. Held on the 61st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ceremony seemed to be an attempt by the world body to correct past wrongs committed against the Jewish people, and to distance the U.N. from its recent history as a hotbed of anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel.
But before we get too choked up about survivors being allowed to speak from a U.N. lectern, let's place this event in perspective.
Despite recent progress, the world body is still a locus of anti-Israel invective. The fact that the ceremony was mainly attended by survivors and American Jews - and shunned by most Third World diplomats - ought to temper our enthusiasm. The campaign of incitement and Holocaust-denial being conducted there by the government of Iran must not be overlooked or rationalized.
What we need from this institution is that it care for Jews who are currently under threat of death, and not simply a show of compassion for those already murdered. As long as this organization treats Israel unfairly and refuses to appropriately punish Iran, U.N. laments for the Six Million lost should be deemed little more than crocodile tears.