On Israel and Palestine - Prospects for Peace

In the past, I have been critical of the new Palestinian "unity government" comprised of elements of both Fatah and Hamas.

Since then, I have attempted to watch events in the Middle East to see if there is even a hint that my opinion is mistaken.

(See here) a Jerusalem Post piece that reports:

Former PA foreign minister Mahmoud A-Zahar of Hamas said Friday that recognizing Israel contradicts the Koran...
So I guess if one is going to be a good Moslem, then peace with Israel is impossible. That sure seems like a good starting point for negotiations doesn't it? (Yes, that was sarcastic.)

The JPost piece also reports:
In an interview with a Hamas-affiliated Web site, A-Zahar said that Hamas had not given up on the principle that all of Palestine is Muslim land.
Let me point out that "all of Palestine" includes all of Israel. I guess if negotiations are opened with the "unity government" of Palestine, that includes representation by Hamas, then we can skip all of the other issues and get down to the only points that remain to be settled: How is Israel going to surrender to Palestinian forces and under what conditions will the nation of Israel be destroyed? (Yes, more sarcasm.)

The best result that could be obtained through negotiations with a government that includes Hamas is for Hamas to agree to a hudna (a temporary peace) during which they would attempt to gather strength for the ultimate showdown which is yet to come. Leaders of Hamas have indicated as much with their statements. It is my personal opinion that negotiations should not be opened under such conditions. That the economic boycott against Hamas and any government that includes Hamas should continue. When (if ever) the Palestinian people have had enough and choose to put in power a more reasonable government then there might be a point in holding negotiations.

When the Palestinian people signal they are ready to negotiate a real end to hostilities, that they too are tired of the endless bloodshed and they too want peace we should fall all over ourselves getting to our places at the negotiating table. However as long as the precondition exists that Israel must agree to commit suicide, well... Israel does have the right to defend herself and the conflict goes on.

In the meantime, Israeli settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria (the occupied Palestinian territories - or West Bank) should still cease. There is no justification for continuing this practice. The hard core, extremist elements of Israeli society (who are themselves just as unwilling to compromise as Hamas) should not receive a reward for lack of progress in the peace process.


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