Israeli Academics and Writers Call for Dialogue With Hamas

This story reminds me of the debates that erupted in the United States after the release of the Iraq Study Group report, which controversially recommended, among other things, that the United States directly engage with Iran and Syria in order to resolve the crisis in Iraq. So the logic goes, in order to resolve conflicts a nation must engage even with its enemies. Afterall, regular talks and visits were held between leaders of the US and of the Soviet Union, The US’ old arch-enemy.

But in Israel the problem has much deeper historical roots. For one, Israel has been involved in a longstanding and almost intractable conflict with enemies who reside right on its borders — very small borders — and in various cases inside its borders, rather than on the other side of the world for a one-time war. In the past Israel used to decline to speak with the PLO on the same grounds that it was a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, although (rightly or wrongly) it changed course during the Oslo Accords and is now bolstering Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, the PLO’s most powerful constituent organization, against Islamist rivals Hamas. As to whether Israel would be wise to talk to Hamas? You can decide for yourself.

Israeli writers urge Hamas truce (BBC News)

A group of prominent Israeli academics and writers have urged the government to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas, the militant group in control of Gaza.

In a petition, they said this would help bring an end to the suffering of Israelis and of Palestinians.

Internationally-acclaimed authors Amos Oz, David Grossman and AB Yehoshua were among the signatories.

Israel rejected the petition, saying a group dedicated to Israel’s destruction could not be a partner for any talks.

‘Counterproductive’

“Israel has in the past negotiated with its worst enemies,” the petition said.

“Now, the appropriate course of action is to negotiate with Hamas to reach a general ceasefire to prevent further suffering for both sides.”

In response, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev described the petition as counterproductive.

“The position of the government of Israel and that of the European Union, Canada and the United States is that we must engage with the Palestinian moderates,” he said.

“Giving recognition and legitimacy to Hamas can only strengthen the extremists and undermine the moderates,” Mr Regev added.

Israel has no contacts with Hamas, which it considers a terror group.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for almost daily rocket attacks on its territory from inside the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist group seized control in June.
Story from BBC NEWS:

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