By Matthew Kiernan / News Editor
For as long as the conflict continues in the Middle East and relationships strain, America will continue to be a divided nation. Author and military, foreign policy analyst Mark Perry held a lecture followed by discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which he talked about U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the problems that are continuing between the countries.
“I don’t think reconciliation will work right now because it’s so bloody,” said Perry in regards to the conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Perry talked about the Islamic resistance organization Hamas that governs Gaza and the fundamentals of how Hamas works in the modern world of politics.
“Hamas is very political – a democratic organization,” said Perry and added that Hamas is structured to have officials voted in or out.
He discussed his days of having talks with the Palestine leader Yasser Arafat and the day the former second-in-command Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi came to Arafat to talk about the situation at the time in Palestine.
Perry said that the Hamas leader accused Arafta of betraying the Palestinian people. Rantissi later asked of Arafat what he wanted from Hamas, to which Arafat requested 40 seats in the Palestinian legislature.
Perry said that Hamas is more of a liberation movement than a religious organization and that their leaders are mainstream secular leaders. He added that the heads of the organization are well educated and that 11 of the leaders have doctorates.
“This is a very different society than we think, this Palestinian society,” said Perry. He also said that it’s difficult for Palestinians to talk to Hamas in their own society and asked the audience to imagine how difficult it is for the U.S. government to talk with Hamas.
The author recalled his lunch date with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who said the only way America would have discussions with Hamas was if they came disarmed of weapons to the meeting and recognized Israel as not being an enemy.
“Where we are with Hamas and the Palestinians is not good,” said Perry. He said that America will be moving towards talking with Hamas and having a consensus of peace agreements but that the only way it would happen is if they didn’t use violence.
Perry warned that separating people is what causes wars and asked the audience to remember past wars such as the one in Vietnam. He said that when separation happens, people will rise against it if they’re pushed hard enough.
Perry spoke of the time during his college years of how he went to see his rabbi and his rabbi asked him if the Jewish community were the chosen people, why were there six million people killed during the Holocaust.
He responded later to his rabbi that one of the possible reasons was that God was asleep. He said the Taliban are much different from what people remember them by from the years 2004-2006 in their ability to separate religion and politics. He said the U.S. government has also changed because they’ve become more realistic in the way they think Taliban politics function.
Perry said that the reason he got into his line of work was so he could create peace and so violence wouldn’t happen again.