THE QUESTION

Vice President Dick Cheney said last week that Hamas is doing all it can to torpedo the Mideast peace process -- but Ephraim Halevy, former head of Mossad, thinks it's time to include the Islamist group in peace talks. Who's right?

Posted by David Ignatius on April 1, 2008 5:57 AM

FROM THE PANEL

Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.

Waterboarding Real Peace

The Bush administration may wish to "waterboard" a Mideast peace process that excludes Hamas, but the result won't be a stable and lasting peace.

Posted by Ali Ettefagh Tehran, Iran | 84 COMMENTS
Apr 4, 2008 at 10:12 AM
Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and bitterlemons.org (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter.

Nothing to Talk About With Hamas

Rather than talking to Hamas, two other steps would be more effective: 1) stepping up the pressure on Egypt to shut down the weapons flow into Gaza over the Egyptian border and 2) pressing the Arab states to thaw their relations with Israel by taking Sadat-like gestures that show they are serious about pushing for peace.

Posted by Saul Singer Jerusalem, Israel | 10 COMMENTS
Apr 4, 2008 at 10:00 AM
Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune. An internationally syndicated political columnist and book author, he is also the first director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, and also serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Harvard University and the Dubai School of Government. He was awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for 2006. He teaches annually at American University of Beirut, University of Chicago and Northeastern University. He has been a fellow and visiting scholar at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Syracuse University and Stanford University, and is a member of the Brookings Institution Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World. He is a Fellow of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem), and a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard University Divinity School. He also serves on the board of the East-West Institute, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (USA), and the Jordan National Museum. He was editor-in-chief of the Jordan Times for seven years and for 18 years he was general manager of Al Kutba, Publishers, in Amman, Jordan, where he also served as a consultant to the Jordanian tourism ministry on biblical archaeological sites. He has hosted programs on archeology, history and current public affairs on Jordan Television and Radio Jordan, and often comments on Mideast issues in the international media. He has BA and MSc degrees respectively in political science and mass communications from Syracuse University, NY, USA.

Give Politics a Chance to Counter Violence

The US and Israel absolutely should engage and negotiate with Hamas, just as the US, UK and Irish engaged with the IRA, which was viewed by them all as a terrorist group.

Posted by Rami G. Khouri Beirut, Lebanon | 5 COMMENTS
Apr 4, 2008 at 9:00 AM
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. Mr. Kuttab is the former director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, Palestine and the founder of AmmanNet, the Arab world's first internet radio station. His personal web page is www.daoudkuttab.com.

Engage Islamists

The problem has to do more with the US attitude towards Iran and Syria rather than its attitude towards Hamas. Furthermore, the big question is whether the Bush administration believes in engaging with any Muslim movement (radical or moderate).

Posted by Daoud Kuttab Jerusalem/Amman, Jordan | 1 COMMENTS
Apr 4, 2008 at 8:10 AM
Michael Young is the Opinion Editor and a columnist for Lebanon’s The Daily Star newspaper. He is also a contributing editor and contributor at Reason magazine, where he writes bi-weely articles.

Don't Push Hamas to the Table

If states engage Hamas today, then they can say goodbye to Fatah and to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Is that desirable?

Posted by Michael Young Beirut, Lebanon | 22 COMMENTS
Apr 2, 2008 at 9:00 AM
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst and historian based in Damascus, Syria. Moubayed is the author of "Damascus Between Democracy and Dictatorship (2000)" and "Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000 (2006)." He has also authored a biography of Syria's former President Shukri al-Quwatli and currently serves as Associate Professor at the Faculty of International Relations at al-Kalamoun University in Syria. In 2004, he created Syrianhistory.com, the first and online museum of Syrian history. He is also co-founder and editor-in-chief of FORWARD, the leading English monthly in Syria, and Vice-President of Haykal Media.

Too Late to Talk Peace With Hamas

2005 would have been good, 2006 would have been perfect. But not anymore. It's too late to include Hamas in Middle East peace talks. They're no longer interested.

Posted by Sami Moubayed Damascus, Syria | 14 COMMENTS
Apr 1, 2008 at 10:32 AM
Originally from Pakistan, Anwer Sher is based in Dubai and writes for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and Emirates Today. His varied career experience includes banking, consulting, and real estate development. He has a Masters degree in International Relations.

Talk, Don't Shoot

To say that Hamas is against the State of Israel is effectively to limit the possibility of peace. It glosses over the fact that the PLO itself was a sworn enemy of Israel. And it overlooks the reality that Israel has not helped the peace process by its use of excessive force.

Posted by Anwer Sher Dubai, UAE | 7 COMMENTS
Apr 1, 2008 at 9:21 AM
Lamis Andoni is a Middle East consultant for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news station. She has been covering the Middle East for 20 years. She has reported for the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times and the main newspapers in Jordan. She was a professor at the Graduate School in UC Berkeley.

Israel Must Engage -- Not Hamas

The world should no longer accept the US-backed Israeli conditions that are imposed on Palestinians and demanded of Hamas as proof of “eligibility” to enter into peace negotiations and join the international community.

Posted by Lamis Andoni Doha, Qatar | 72 COMMENTS
Apr 1, 2008 at 6:02 AM

READER RESPONSE

» starr sanders | You cannot talk to someone or an organization whose only interest is the destruction of another group of people....
» Barryw | Hamas is in the business of fighting Israel. So long as they fight, they collect international funding. The Hamas leadership survives and prospers by ...
» PatrickNYC | It may seem simplistic but you make peace with your enemies and not your friends. Abbas has never had any personal following among Palestinians so an...
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