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Hamas and Syria won't watch the peace on television

08/11/2007

If you are for peace, then should you be for or against Israel making a "deal" with the Hamas? Recently, Yossi Beilin gave a talk that illustrated both the realities and the illusions represented in the prospect of dealing with, or ignoring Hamas, and the pitfalls it presents.

According to the Ha'aretz article, Beilin said it is vital Israel reach an agreement with Hamas, directly or indirectly, before the Middle East summit scheduled for this
coming fall, otherwise Gaza may "explode."


Indeed, "explode" is an appropriate word to use when speaking of Hamas.

What Beilin had in mind was that Hamas would stop the Qassam fire, and in return, Israel (and presumably the West) would relax the blockade of Gaza. Beilin pointed out that every day another sector goes bankrupt in the strip.

That is possibly true, and it is making Palestinians increasingly dissatisfied with Hamas, which is the reason for the blockade, and a good reason NOT to make an agreement with Hamas, and to give Mahmoud Abbas every chance to recover control of Gaza, rather than legitimizing the Hamas government. What is the point of pulling the rug out from under the Fatah?

But Beilin raised an important point,"I believe decision makers on both sides think that Hamas will sit back and watch a peace agreement on television." Not only Hamas, but Syria as well will not sit back and watch a peace agreement on television, and neither will Iran or the Hezbollah or the Islamic Jihad. Syrian officials  have already written op-eds explaining that the peace conference is part of a Zionist - American plot, which is aimed at destroying all the Arab countries. That attitude from Syria is hardly surprising, given that it is a peace conference, and given the fact that the conference is pretty much expressly designed to isolate Iran and Syria. 

But when we strip the rhetoric of its authentic Middle-East flavored rhetoric, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban's critique is not without foundation:


In light of this analysis, the so-called peace conference that will convene in the fall aims to normalize relations between Israel and few more Arab countries. That is why vagueness is central to the endeavor, as the right of return for the Palestinians, Jerusalem and the Palestinian state become "political horizons" or "basic issues" or "matters of difference" without even being mentioned.

Indeed, there are many difficult issues that should be resolved ahead of the conference to avoid catastrophic failure. And indeed we can expect that Syria, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and company will do everything in their power to ensure that these issues, are quite literally, to borrow Beilin's word, "explosive."

It would be a pity if this little opportunity for peace were to be lost entirely because of poor preparation, lack of courage and lack of leadership, but that may very well be exactly what happens. It is also entirely conceivable that rather than Syria and Hamas watching the conclusion of the next peace agreement, some of us will be watching the next war on television, while others will participate in the "reality show."

Ami Isseroff

A version of this article was published at Peacewatch: Hamas and Syria won't watch television

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000611.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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