Friday, March 7, 2008

Why is Israel so adamantly opposed to talking to Hamas?

From Patrick Seale in his article Atrocity in Gaza:

The answers are numerous.
  • First of all, talking to Hamas would confer recognition on the Islamic resistance movement, whereas Israel has moved heaven and earth to get the United States and even the divided and timorous EU to declare Hamas a "terrorist organization."
  • Secondly, if Israel were to accept a ceasefire, this would amount to creating a situation of mutual deterrence with Hamas, which Israel adamantly refuses. It wants its enemies to surrender, while it retains the freedom to kill at will. "We will be the ones who create the equations, and not Hamas," Olmert declares.
  • Thirdly, Israel knows that, looking beyond the ceasefire, Hamas would insist on far stiffer peace terms than those of the very weak Palestinian Authority and its hapless president, Mahmud Abbas. Abbas has renounced all forms of resistance. He has embraced George W. Bush's hollow Annapolis 'peace process' and has put himself entirely in Israel's hands. But he has failed to persuade Olmert to dismantle a single illegal outpost, or a single West Bank checkpoint, let alone halt the steadily expanding settlements in Arab East Jerusalem and in the large Israeli blocks, intended to sever the city from its Arab hinterland.
  • Fourthly, the Sephardic movement Shas has already put Olmert on notice that it will quit the coalition and bring down his government if he so much as discusses with the Palestinians core issues such as Jerusalem, borders and refugees. In Israel's present climate of hysteria, Olmert would probably not survive any sort of deal with Hamas.
  • Finally, even though bashing Gaza alarms the world and risks triggering suicide bombings and other revenge attacks -- and even the possibility of a third intifada -- aborting the peace process suits Israel well enough.
Far from considering any withdrawal to the 1967 borders -- which is the main Arab condition for peace -- Israel seems determined on the contrary to consolidate its control over the whole of historic Palestine, by means of increased settlement activity, military closed zones and the sheer coercion of a captive population.

The question is whether such a cruel policy is sustainable in the long term. How much better would it be for Israel to have a peaceful and prosperous Palestine on its borders, serving as its key to peace with the entire Arab world?

Read the entire article here >