MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Hamas's Moscow visit was a good lesson in international diplomacy. Politically the visit was a failure. Despite Israeli objections to the visit, which should have made it a triumph for Hamas, Hamas inexperience and its adherence to an outdated ideology prevented it from saying the right things.
However Israel cannot ignore Hamas as it ignored Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. It is in Israel's interest to have a dialogue with Hamas.
Mistakes of the American and Israeli governments, as well as Fatah corruption led to the Hamas victory in the recent Palestinian elections. Thirty eight years of occupation radicalized the population. Ten years of the Oslo process did not lead to a Palestinian state. Israel continued expanding settlements, adding outposts, and building a separation wall or a security fence, call it what you will.
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Replies: 13 comments
Give Hamas a chance. There has been very little progress made in the last number of years. Before anyone judges Hamas, they should look at what was done before they came to power. The Israelis elected Sharon who is considered by many to be a cold blooded murderer. He actually made some progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe Hamas and whoever the Israelis elect soon can come to a full settlement, and maybe the Israeli arab conflict could come to an end. The ball is in the Israeli's court now, lets hope that they bring in someone who can bring about lasting peace.
Posted by Mike Jebara @ 03/06/2006 08:44 PM CST
It is almost as though Hamas really held out no hope of winning the election and never considered how to deal with the prospect of forming a government. But I cannot believe this is true. I have been around politicians too long to believe this. All politicians, no matter how small or hopeless their party, dream of power and what they would do with it. Politicians are egotists who paint mental pictures of themselves in the glare of media lights, and sharing the stage with international figures of repute. They want the seal of approval so much they could almost taste it. If the leaders of Hamas saw themselves leading the Palestinian people into a final peace agreement, they would have mapped the paths out a thousand times over in their heads.
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/06/2006 10:24 PM CST
It is in Israel's interest to have a dialogue with Hamas? Upon reading this one sentence of Mr. Nehad Ismail, a scene from Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" came immediately to mind. The machine gunner, who is Jewish, is in need of ammunition. The American ammunition bearer is paralyzed with fear. Without any ammunition, the Jewish-American soldier is confronted with death by stabbing. He tries to carry on a dialogue with the German soldier as the dagger hangs over his chest. The German soldier presses down. The Jewish-American soldier tries to reason with him. Slowly, the dagger presses deep into the Jewish-American soldier's chest, killing him. This could be a reference to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler, or... to Mr.Nehad Ismail's Chamberlain-like approach to appeasing Hamas. Both would fit nicely. Have we learned nothing from the past? Mr. Ismail's approach would lead to an "Ever Again" approach to documented genocidal intent as opposed to a "Never Again" approach to the Holocaust.
Posted by Dan Hennessy @ 03/07/2006 12:08 AM CST
Arial Sharon didn't commit to dialogue with the Palestinians so why should Hamas commit to dialogue with the Israelis? I don't blame Hamas for not recognizing Israel, Hamas is saying that why not bring recognition back to the negotiating table. I highly doubt Hamas will disarm at least not until after a negotiate settlement.
Posted by Butros Dahu @ 03/07/2006 07:43 PM CST
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/07/2006 09:04 PM CST
I think Hamas has stated that they would accept a return to the 1967 border. The 1967 borders are the only solution to ending the problem of the middle east. As I stated in a previous area, the arab offer made in Beirut can be the real solution. I was told by someone who responded to my comments that the Israeli's have a problem with the "return of refugees". I truly feel that once Israel commits to return to the 1967 border, the refugee issue would be resolved. Hamas like any other political party made promises before the election and once elected, they will face the facts and accept them. I know that many arabs would welcome a return to the 1967 border, and I know that most if not all hostilities between the arabs and Israel will disappear. The Israeli's hold the key to the solution. Although it seems some Israel's want a just and lasting peace, the majority appear to be content to live in an uncertain future. Maybe people believe that war is the only way that Israel remains a strong military power, or maybe they fear that if peace comes to the area that the billions of dollars received from the USA and other countries will end. I don't know what the reasons are for staying on this course that has brought nothing but hatred and killing and destruction. To use the reason of fear of the arabs is not valid in my opinion because Israel has one of the strongest military in the world. Fears of major attacks are very limited if any. I can think of when Israel was occupied the south of Lebanon. Many attacks against Israel's occured every single day. When Israel left, the attacks against the Israeli's ended instantly. The very few attacks between the Israeli's and Hizballah occured in disputed areas that Israel did not withdraw back to the real border.
Posted by Mike Jebara @ 03/08/2006 05:21 PM CST
From my understanding what Hamas is currently saying is that as an interim solution it would accept a return to the pre-1967 lines and in response some form of cease-fire would come into being. However it is my understanding from what they are saying that this would not constitute a permanent peace settlement with Israel in which Hamas accepts Israel's right to exist as legitimate state. Thus it occurs to me that they are asking the Israelis to agree to return to the period 1948 - 1967, and reserving for themselves the right to continue the conflict when it suits them. From Israel's perspective it would be absurd to accept this situation.
Posted by R. Davies @ 03/09/2006 10:48 AM CST
Dear Mr. Davies. If you were made king for a day over Palestine and Israel, how would you solve this problem??
Posted by Mike Jebara @ 03/10/2006 03:33 PM CST
Dear Mr. Jebara,
There must be 2 separate states and for a period they must be totally separate. The rationale for this is that both Israel and Palestine must tend their wounds and spend some time on introspection. Also they both must concentrate upon internal issues. In truth both have been the dupes of other interest groups, and their lives and interests have been squandered carelessly.
There must be a corridor highway constructed between Gaza & the West Bank. But all other links have to be negotiated for between governments. That means that the Palestinians need to create a credible government and control the armed factions.
The Israelis must use the time to get their economy on a peace time footing, and thereby attract inward investment, and reuce their dependency on the USA. The Palestinians must address civil government and set up systems which accord to the best international standards, so that they can deliver both to their own people and to their neighbours.
In the longer term I would like to establish an economic union of Palestine encompassing Israel, Palestine & Jordan (the old Mandate) similar to the Benelux arrangements. I believe that this grouping would be a positive force for good in the region. It may be desirable to extend this to include Lebanon. The inhabitants in each of these countries have much to contribute and a loose union could facilitate that. Due to Israel's massive military power, bith Jordan & Palestine could rely on it for territorial integrity in the early stages, and ensure that all available civil resources be directed into civil development.
I believe that as wealth and democracy grew, interest in extremism would die away.
I first started contributing to this site when it bravely tried to get both sides to admit their faults. It was very brave, but to failed because the Palestinian side was not ready. This still needs to happen on both sides & until both sides are honest about their roles in this conflict then there will be little progress towards peace.
Finally IMO - the Palestinians have it within their gift to create peace, and the Israelis have it within the gift to teach nation building. No matter what any of us thinks about Israel, the Zionists have shown themselves to be very adept at building a country out of virtually nothing. They have much to teach the region if only the region is willing to listen. The Palestinians are amongst the best educated in the Arab world, and have the capacity to exploit the opportunities that peace can bring.
Sadly I see no alternative to the above except perpetual war.
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/10/2006 10:53 PM CST
Thank you guys for a lively debate. Dan Hennessy and Butrus Dahu made interesting points which are valid in their own rights.
Posted by nehad ismail @ 03/11/2006 10:47 AM CST
Dear Nehad Ismail,
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/13/2006 10:12 AM CST
Dear Nehad. I can say the same as Rod Davies. I am new to this site. I have found this place good for putting my opinions up for discussion as well as try to learn more about the opionions of others. As for opposing views, that is not something bad when everyone is trying to come up with a soultion that can help a region as a whole. I don't know if anything said on this site or any other site helps in resolving the middle east problem, but it's good to know that we have a place for our voice to be hears no matter how small the chances of them doing much good.
Posted by Mike Jebara @ 03/13/2006 07:15 PM CST
Many thanks Rod and Mike, we all agree that real lasting peace is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want. Let us hope our debate is a helpful step, however small, in the right direction. nehad
Posted by nehad ismail @ 03/13/2006 10:03 PM CST
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