Politicians, generals and the public all know that any substantial incursion into the Gaza Strip will be a catastrophe. Still, no one dares ask why, for heaven's sake, not try to talk directly with Hamas?Read the entire article here >
Gaza has an established authority that seized power democratically and then forcibly, and proved it has the power to control the territory. That, in itself, isn't bad news after a period of anarchy. But Israel and the world don't like Hamas. They want to overthrow it, but their diabolical scheme isn't working out. The two-year siege and boycott that included starvation, blackouts and bombardments have produced no sign that Hamas is weaker. On the contrary: The ceasefire was violated first by Israel with its unnecessary operation of blowing up a tunnel.
What everybody already knew to be false - that the political choice of a people could be changed through violence, that the Gazans could be made into Zionists by being abused - was tried anyway. Now we have to finally change direction, to do what nobody has tried before, if only because we have no other choice.
Any excuse against such an attempt does not hold water. Hamas doesn't recognize Israel; what does it matter? Hamas is a fundamentalist movement? That's irrelevant. Hamas will decline holding talks? Let's challenge it. Direct talks with Hamas will weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? He's weak anyway.
What does Israel have to lose besides its much-anticipated wide-scale operation that it can carry out anytime? Why not try the diplomatic option before the military one, and not the other way around like we're used to?
Monday, December 22, 2008
Talk with Hamas
Gideon Levy writing in Ha'aretz: