Sunday, January 29, 2006


There is a lot of pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel, a term which is falsely taken as self-explanatory, which might be the case for, say, Luxembourg, but not so much for Israel. Israel is a nation without defined borders, and not just because of the Occupied Territories (I assume no one is actually trying to get Hamas to recognize an Israel that includes the West Bank) and Jerusalem (whose borders Israel quietly expands into the West Bank every couple of years); even Israel doesn’t say what borders it claims for itself. So if it’s not a geographical entity, what is it? Its state lacks a constitution, the Knesset making up its rules as it goes along. And its population, because of the right of return, is undefined, potentially including millions of Jews who live outside its not-quite borders who may or may not ever visit there, much less become citizens.

None of this is to absolve Hamas of the anti-Semitic, even genocidal feelings expressed by some of its leaders (my favorite bit in the Hamas Covenant is the one that goes out of its way to blame the Jews for the French Revolution), but Arabs must get a little tired of being told, as Arafat so often was, what they are required to say, and say, the dictation usually continues, in Arabic. I say the only form of recognition that is truly meaningful is sitting down at a table and negotiating with the Israelis.

Israel has promised to keep up its very special form of recognition of Hamas by continuing to assassinate its leaders, even if they take governmental office.

The World Bank is responding to criticism of its loans to the famously corrupt Kenyan government – by loaning that government another $25 million... to fight corruption.

Silvio Berlusconi (who has had plastic surgery to enhance his likeness to Mussolini, or something) promises not to have sex between now and the April 9 elections. It’s unclear who that would persuade to vote for his party.

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