Stephen Pollard, in the Sunday Telegraph, is wrong that “national self-determination” has any legitimacy as a cause. That said, he still has a point when he shows that Hamas is so much worse than that:

Most coverage of Hamas in the Western media betrays a quite astonishing misunderstanding of its role and its aims. The received wisdom is that, although its tactics may be repellent, Hamas is a group of freedom fighters battling against the Israelis for their rights–something akin to nationalist terrorist groups such as the IRA or ETA, which, however foul their methods, have an aim–national self-determination–that can be shared by perfectly decent, non-violent supporters.

It follows logically that any Israeli response to Hamas is reported as merely tit for tat and, in its own way, equally destructive to the chances of a negotiated settlement. Both sides are as bad as each other […]

That view, however widely it may be propagated, is so warped that it can only raise suspicions about the agenda of those who peddle it. The comparison with the IRA is entirely specious. If the IRA had espoused not merely the separation of Northern Ireland from the UK but also the murder of every Unionist and every Anglican in Great Britain, the abolition of the United Kingdom and its replacement with a Catholic state, run by the IRA and dedicated to converting the rest of the world to Catholicism by force, then there might be some merit in the comparison.

[…] Talk of “negotiation” with Hamas is meaningless–as meaningless as the idea that you can negotiate with Osama bin Laden. You cannot negotiate with the man who intends only your murder and the destruction of your country and who is prepared to die–and kill you in the process–rather than settle for less.

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