Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bring in Hamas

Henry Siegman in the International Herald Tribune:

To Bush and Rice, not to speak of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defense minister, Ehud Barak - who tirelessly lecture the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim worlds on the subject of democracy - the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government was thus the preferred course of action.

Bush and Rice now face a dilemma of their own making. Surely after the latest violence in Gaza they can no longer deny what some critics have said from the outset, that there is no prospect of Abbas engaging Israel in successful negotiations so long as Hamas is denied participation in Palestinian governance. You cannot make peace with half of a country's population and remain at war with the other half.

Furthermore, Olmert's confirmation that Israel's assaults on Gaza had Abbas's blessings have finished Abbas for all practical purposes as an interlocutor in peace talks with Israel, even for West Bank residents, unless he gets the backing of Hamas.

It is therefore time for them to heed the sober advice of the eminent persons group that urged a more nuanced policy toward Hamas. It's time to take advantage of Hamas's offer of a mutual cease-fire that would not only end the killing in Gaza and the West Bank and the rocket fire on Sderot and Ashkelon, but also prevent a potentially calamitous escalation threatened by Barak.

Read the entire article here>

Also see: Vanity Fair - The Gaza Bombshell