I'm no optimist when it comes to the Israeli/Palestenian, ahem, question, and no apologist for suicide bombing, but, please, a little perspective. Here’s what George W. Bush had to say when he learned that Hamas won an electoral victory in the Palestenian Authority:

"And I know you can't be a partner in peace if you have a -- if your party has got an armed wing."

And here, from the official website of the Israeli Defense Forces, is a description of the Nahal Brigade:
"Nahal" is the Hebrew acronym for "Noar Halutzi Lohem" - Fighting Pioneer Youth - a military cadre unique to Israel. It is a framework which combines military service in a combat unit with civilian service in a newly founded kibbutz or moshav (collective and semi-collective agricultural settlements).


The Nahal was established during the 1948 War of Independence by David Ben-Gurion. It was the natural continuation of the pioneering values and customs of the nascent state and the legacy of the elite underground Palmach unit. The aim of the Nahal was to ensure security and settlement, combining the sword and the ploughshare (the Nahal official emblem). The Nahal was created as a subdivision of the Gadna (pre-military age youth battalions). The unit's function was to maintain Gar'inim ('nuclei'), or groups of youths who had united for the purpose of founding new settlements or joining existing ones, in the framework of youth movements. At the time, 17 year-olds were drafted along with these groups of youths in times of national emergency. From its inception, the Nahal included women in its ranks. The aim of the Nahal Gar'in was to provide its soldiers with extensive military capability as well as the basic tools for life on a new kibbutz or moshav. Since its establishment, The Nahal has helped found at least 108 new settlements and has assisted in the development of many more.

I understand that there are some apples and oranges issues here. The IDF, and hence the Nahal Brigade, is an arm of the Israeli state, not a wing of a particular party. But Bush’s statement only makes sense if he’s saying that being a partner in peace, for a Palestenian, means renouncing the capability to engage Israel militarily. And I think it’s abundantly clear that this is a double standard.

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