The Israel-Palestine quarrel has little to do with the sharing of a territory. It is also very much an existential question: many Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims call for the elimination of Israel. The discourse isn't a new one, but this type of declaration has been multiplying in recent times. For the Palestinian prime minister (a Hamas leader), the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not start with the cohabitation of two states, but with the creation of a Palestinian state that would eventually replace all of Israel. In Lebanon, the head of Hezbollah recently assured his supporters that "the Arab armies and peoples can take back Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] River." In Iran, the president wants to wipe Israel off the map. In such an atmosphere, whatever the faults of Israel since its very beginnings, the peace process is blocked.
Hamas, as all we know, is a terrorist organization. Its fighters, its bomb-planters, guided by their spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by the Israelis, are responsible for the death of hundreds of people, in Israel and in Palestine. The group's objective is to punish Palestinian "collaborators", to throw Jews back into the sea, and to eradicate the Hebrew state. It's also a social and political organization whose work on behalf of the Palestinian population and against corruption in the Palestinian Authority has allowed it to take power in last January's legislative elections. Its representatives, its preachers, its ground troops are seen by the population as the true representatives of a Palestinian society torn apart by internal violence and the destructive policies of the state of Israel, especially under Ariel Sharon.
The controversial quote, which essentially argues from the position, that isolation equals strengthening. In other words, the end goal is consistent with eliminating Hamas, the path is the subjective part:
Both of them want all the power for themselves. This stance weakens them and plays into the hands of radicals everywhere. Westerners would have done better by not isolating Hamas, no matter how repugnant its positions on Israel are. They made a mistake. Marginalizing Hamas and trying to prevent it from exercising its electoral mandate won't eliminate it from the Palestinian political stage. To the contrary, it will rediscover its bothersome character without offering the possibility restraining it. The West should instead help Palestinians rebuild their unity
I’m curious about Coulon’s opinion on isolation, given the recent takeover of Gaza and the new Fatah government. Isolating Hamas now might be more of an attractive option, although Coulon will probably avoid the issue like the plague.
I don’t see anything in the above that justifies calling Coulon “anti-Israel”, or a Hamas sympathizer. In fact, Coulon’s comments show a basic acceptable thesis, which demonstrates pragmatism to achieve an ends. Hardly worth the fuss.