MONITOR: ETA'S CEASE-FIRE
All the News of the World
Saturday 04 December 1999
decision to end its cease-fire after 18 months
ETA HAS decided to blackmail Spain once more: either it gets its way or it will kill again. The government has in the last few months made a considerable effort to attend to what might be permissible and reasonable among Basque nationalist demands, and it plans to continue to do so. But no civilised society can accept the extortion imposed by a tiny minority, however savage it may be.
ETA AND its political allies represent a secessionist option, which is a totally illegitimate justification for violence. Despite pointing to the Irish process as a model that the Spanish government has failed to follow, Basque nationalists do not recognise that the international community's satisfaction about that is that it has ended civil confrontation, maintaining the territorial integrity of Great Britain. It has ended IRA terrorist violence and has managed to integrate its representatives into a multi-party government. Basque nationalists have done nothing comparable.
THERE LIES no interest in criticising democratic Basque nationalist parties for appealing to Eta for a change of heart. But it's absurd to think that such an irrational desire will have the effect of softening Eta. It is not credible that to make Eta stop killing we should stop demanding that Eta stop killing. It's nonsense to suggest that you show willing to obey a tyrant in order that the tyrant stops ruling. And tyrants don't tend to become more human, however many genuflexions they receive.
THE BASQUE separatist organisation's about-turn is not unexpected. It is the result of an incompatibility between the radical nationalists, who have compromised on none of their demands, and a government that is disinclined to pay the "political price" demanded.
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