Is It Time to Negotiate With Hamas?


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

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (92)

loaeg tlbs :

qxdkzie qlbkhjmuo gyebjwmfu jwnhloys fzudsoner wfjanp erdmspqv

loaeg tlbs :

qxdkzie qlbkhjmuo gyebjwmfu jwnhloys fzudsoner wfjanp erdmspqv

loaeg tlbs :

qxdkzie qlbkhjmuo gyebjwmfu jwnhloys fzudsoner wfjanp erdmspqv

loaeg tlbs :

qxdkzie qlbkhjmuo gyebjwmfu jwnhloys fzudsoner wfjanp erdmspqv

misha :

By reading this topic I expected to come across some similarities between Palestinian teritories and Kosovo region (now state). In my opinion, a good start for finding a solution for peace in this area is to send international troops (UN, Europeans, NATO, etc .) to preserve peace. And the second stage is to give the Palestinian people a state more or less internationally recognized (like Kosovo). And the third stage: to pump money into the new born Palestinian state in order to induce prosperity. You now, the prosperity is the most powerful enemy to war.

And by the way, Kosovo is a precedent, like it or not.

Vic van Meter :

Todd, you missed the entire scope of my response. Most important in its implications is that there is no side you can empathize with because, as I've stated over and over again (in agreement with most people of sound rationality) that Israel isn't going anywhere. The primary Islamic population in Israel has a lot more to do with the lands gained from various wars with its neighbors. In fact, it is much more difficult to empathize with Hamas than Israel simply because Israel is (rightly) criticized for military incursions into Palestine whereas Hamas is treated as better than common terrorists as they fire missiles randomly into civilian zones in Israel.

If you peel back all the media coverage from the affair, you get that a lot of young Islamic men (who make up the largest part of the ground Hamas movement) who were not alive within even decades of Israel's creation, are reacting violently to Israel's insistance that its state should be officially Jewish even though Jerusalem is an important city to the three major monotheistic religions. The violence has a root cause tied well to World War II, but the violence in recent days can hardly be attributed to the creation of the Israeli state.

The reasons for this cyclical violence are many. Jewish and Muslim conservatives all around have perpetuated the violence as a way of proving themselves right in quite a Catch 32. In essence, by electing in Hamas and a hawkish Israeli government who promised a hard line with their rivals in the opposite religion, the people of this particular patch of dirt have ensured the continuation of violence.

The reason I attribute the dual nature to the rest of the world is because the rest of the world backs the two sides as simply that. We cannot back both Israel and Palestine as one nation (though in all technicality that is not inaccurate) because the West's rivals are fighting the exact same proxy war. Having bigger guns doesn't make Israel much different outside of being forced to hold themselves up towards the West's style of diplomacy (namely, to try to keep civilian casualties down). Hamas certainly, by their actions, do not have those similar motives. I find the latter position much harder to relate to simply because they are using crude explosive rockets that simply blow up whatever happens to be beneath them when they run out of fuel.

Not that it makes either side's perpetuation of the violence, or our lopsided support of one side or the other, in any way arguable. By airstriking the Palestinians for Hamas's rocket attacks, the Israeli government gives Hamas more recruits and support. And in the opposite side of the cycle, those same Hamas rocket attacks give the conservatives in the Israeli government all the support they need to continue to be elected.

To end the cycle, we will have to see both sides have peaceful offerings with progressive governments. This is not likely to happen anytime soon, given the general inclination to relate the entirety of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the creation of the Israeli state some fifty years ago. This is hardly a relevant reason for the continued violence, as there are likely very few Palestinians and Israelis who actually remember the creation of the Israeli state.

Palestinian poverty problems and the Israeli government's crackdown on the entire Islamic religion have been the fuel of this fire sparked by mutual outrage at the other's thirst for blood. No matter whose side you believe you are on, negotiations are not meant for people who are looking to justify current murders based on the distant past. Conservativism runs deep on all sides of the conflict, but the best solutions, perhaps the only permanently workable solutions, will all fundamentally depend on the ability of people to think progressively, beyond their dismal present, and give up some elements of the last fifty years in hope of a newer, better society.

Until the rather substantial and strong leadership both sides will need becomes elected, and believe me when I say that right now neither side has the leadership available that has the strength and flexibility to think substantively for peace, there will be only more blood. And as Hamas continues to provoke Israel with their pinprickings, Israel grows closer to its end of the cycle, a bloody massacre with more expensive rockets. There will be more death, and it hardly matters anymore who, why, or what for.

If Isrealis and Palestinians are ever going to come to an agreement, all that is going to matter is that the killing has to stop.

kooshy :

David

I have been reading most of your opinions about Iran, Iraq, foreign policy and recently economy (perhaps because of cut backs at Post you have the double job of op-ed on economy as well as Middle East I hope you won’t get the restaurant review on next round of cut backs). But now on this new article “Iran Problem” in my opinion the biggest problem with your article is that contrary to your opinion Iran interventions in Iraq did not actually start in 2003 history tell us that it began more like 555 BC or may be even before that. If you remember thanks to the US they had big intervention with Iraq back in 80’s for 8 years that is recorded as Iran Iraq war of 1980’s if you get that historical fact right the rest of your argument will be irrelevant.
Now we all remember back in early days of this war how much you and the rest of your colleagues in controlled media ( you read it major media) were in favor of this war but since this war isn’t going rosy you are getting cocky and who else to blame but Iran.
If you are not permitted to be honest with your readers the least you can do is to be honest with yourself Iran and Iraq had more then a thousand years relations Iran is next door to Iraq , what are we doing there did you ever dare to bring this question to your readers.
Now since you wanted this show so bad just be a good sport sit and watch the show it just getting more exiting yesterday’s episode in US congress was that our super one and only volunteers military is being paid to shoot our enemies then the irony is that we are also paying the enemy not to shoot at our military. Davis enjoy your comedy drama show.

kooshy :

David

I have been reading most of your opinions about Iran, Iraq, foreign policy and recently economy (perhaps because of cut backs at Post you have the double job of op-ed on economy as well as Middle East I hope you won’t get the restaurant review on next round of cut backs). But now on this new article “Iran Problem” in my opinion the biggest problem with your article is that contrary to your opinion Iran interventions in Iraq did not actually start in 2003 history tell us that it began more like 555 BC or may be even before that. If you remember thanks to the US they had big intervention with Iraq back in 80’s for 8 years that is recorded as Iran Iraq war of 1980’s if you get that historical fact right the rest of your argument will be irrelevant.
Now we all remember back in early days of this war how much you and the rest of your colleagues in controlled media ( you read it major media) were in favor of this war but since this war isn’t going rosy you are getting cocky and who else to blame but Iran.
If you are not permitted to be honest with your readers the least you can do is to be honest with yourself Iran and Iraq had more then a thousand years relations Iran is next door to Iraq , what are we doing there did you ever dare to bring this question to your readers.
Now since you wanted this show so bad just be a good sport sit and watch the show it just getting more exiting yesterday’s episode in US congress was that our super one and only volunteers military is being paid to shoot our enemies then the irony is that we are also paying the enemy not to shoot at our military. Davis enjoy your comedy drama show.

Todd, Washington DC :

To Vic Van Meter:

If I could please correct one section on your statement below, it can hope to bring reason. You said:

"Here is the Israeli-Palestinian situation in a nutshell. The Israelis declared independence for their country some time after World War II. Immediately, they fought off invasion by the Islamic neighbors. They gained further land in that war and keep it by right of the surrender agreements. Israel has a western-fueled army that rivals that of the richest and best trained western nations, bought and paid for by America and its closest allies. Thereafter, realizing that Israeli military superiority was insurmountable by conventional means, a movement was garnered within the state to reclaim the land using the same proxy mentality.

And then the whole world decided Jews and Arabs can't possibly live together in a religiously free society and convinced legions of people in the country of precisely that. Those legions make up the hawk-like elements of Israeli and Palestinian government. Those elements then asked for more money for more weapons because they are a bastion against the other paternal nations' enemies."

What actually happened was that the UK, US, and UN decided that Jews and Arabs couldn't possibly live together, so they started to create a country for Jews unilaterally. The Israelis declared independence. It's western fueled army was insurmountable by conventional means, so resistance groups developed (like Hamas) and guerilla tactics have been employed ever since. By the way, I do not need to remind you all that "terrorists" is what the big army calls the little army.

If we can all agree that this is what happened, I think we could be closer to empathize with the Palestinian plight and better understand the roots of Hamas. Once we understand, we can communicate.

Vic van Meter :

Obviously, we're not discussing the real problem that is halting the conflict (be it a war, civil war, resistance, call it whatever you like when people are shooting each other). The biggest problem is that all of the Israeli and Palestinian hardliners, if they ever did reach a peace agreement of any kind and had to focus on domestic policy, would be quite unemployed.

I hardly think the Palestinian and Israeli governments are good for their civilians in any domestic sense. By questioning each others' validity, they perpetuate their own Hell. Hamas was a majority-elected government Israel failed to negotiate with and Hamas decided it would prefer raining explosives on nieghboring towns rather than refacilitating their own patch of ground. In all this turmoil, one wonders why both sides are so vehemently opposed to one another, even at the expense of their own people.

The answer has several individual parts and all point directly to the elected officials in those countries.

Islamic nations and the western world pump billions into that otherwise worthless patch of dirt every day. These funds could almost certainly feed the poor of those nations for weeks, or train them for technology jobs, or any host of positive, nation-building uses. Instead, the money largely goes to importing more sophisticated ways to kill each other and their civilians. The money also, in that way, stays right in the governments who set the policy of warfare. In fact, they have crafted their own monetary problem to attract a lucrative monetary solution.

Brainwashing youths has happened not just in Israel and Palestine, but all over the world as they color this conflict into something it wholly is not. The Palestinians and Israelis dying in the streets were not likely alive to offend or be offended by the post-war solution to the Palestinian territories. They fight, live in fear, or die simply because that is the way it has been for their entire lives and because the original conflict has recycled itself in partisan bits of information and misinformation.

There is nothing holy here. There is no greater cause. This war exists simply because the people who benefit most are the ones that are trusted to make a concession of peace. Do we honestly believe that debating with some organization tacitly approves their methods or gives them a previously elusive public support? Does anyone believe that after this many years that the Israelis do not have just as much claim to the land as the current Palestinians? Does anyone seriously believe that the Israeli military should not attack foreign terrorists (and there is no other word for bands that launch rockets into civilian areas) who attempt to randomly murder their citizens? And can we rationally expect the Palestinian people, living in a region of secular and Islamic states, should concede wholeheartedly to second-class citizenship in an officially Jewish state?

If you actually do believe any of the more common causes attributed to the war, you have willingly suspended belief in favor of some imagined virtue no men possess.

Here is the Israeli-Palestinian situation in a nutshell. The Israelis declared independence for their country some time after World War II. Immediately, they fought off invasion by the Islamic neighbors. They gained further land in that war and keep it by right of the surrender agreements. Israel has a western-fueled army that rivals that of the richest and best trained western nations, bought and paid for by America and its closest allies. Thereafter, realizing that Israeli military superiority was insurmountable by conventional means, a movement was garnered within the state to reclaim the land using the same proxy mentality.

And then the whole world decided Jews and Arabs can't possibly live together in a religiously free society and convinced legions of people in the country of precisely that. Those legions make up the hawk-like elements of Israeli and Palestinian government. Those elements then asked for more money for more weapons because they are a bastion against the other paternal nations' enemies.

The net effect? That the reigning governments in these nations were elected with their largest platforms on how to deal with their cultural (and often literal) next door neighbors' depradations. Can we then realistically expect these governments, elected on stances of hard lines and ethnocentric hate, to rescind those arguements for the good of their nations' citizenry? I quite honestly doubt it.

And hence the reason the Israeli-Palestinian problem refuses to go away. Those governments have no vested interest in peace for their constituencies and every reason to continue in a perpetual war that keeps them violently retaliating against each other but never going for broke. We can no more expect peace from them than we can expect pure freedom of the press in North Korea. It isn't that it wouldn't be the best idea for the citizenry, it is because a government's interest is not always identical to that of its people. And if hard-line politicians had a peaceful situation on their hands, they would have to become very good at domestic reforms (which neither of those parties are good at). Can we expect Hamas or the hawkish elements of the Israeli government to work towards peace when they live on a platform of "national security"?

Unfortunately for those two nations, they are dug in very heavily into their sectarian natures. Their children have been subject to violence from the other side and influence from their communities so much that it is difficult to imagine them objectively defining their situation as a struggle of governments rather than cultures. As I have stated in numerous questions on the topic, our only hope for peace is in a generation of people so sickened by the constant hate and violence that they make an agreement out of mutual understanding that nothing has yet been accomplished by either warring side.

I cannot say offhand if that generation is yet arrived. And who knows what will happen. Perhaps there still will be a singular, secular state with a freedom of religion. Perhaps there will be two nations. Or maybe they will agree on something we cannot yet imagine. But the situation is not in the hands of America, Iran, or even their governments. It will be simply a matter of how many people it will take and how much violence they require before both sides are too choked in blood to fight anymore.

Until then, you can be ready for Palestinian terrorists' steady attrition of Israeli citizens and the frequent earth-shaking airstrikes that all to often catch Palestinians in the cross-fire. It isn't likely to end anytime soon. Not with both sides so firmly committed to platforms of pride, gluttony, and hubris.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

Thanks for the post. I think that you take a little more balanced approach to PG questions than I do, at any rate, see you at a future question.

Tom

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

Thanks for the post. I think you are just take a little more balanced approach to PG questions than I do, at any rate, see you at a future question.

Tom

Todd, Washington DC :

We are all going in circles. As usual.

Are we not all pro-peace, pro-democracy, and want to be a champions of life?

All of the people on this page that have argued against Hamas, are you only pro-Israel? Do the Palestinian people not deserve peace? Only Jewish people deserve peace? Since when did peace come from ignoring a democratically elected party?

This is sad.

How about considering being pro-peace and recognize that change happens when we deal with things politically and not militarily. Please stop ignoring democracy and let Hamas come to the table. Hamas has a lot of maturing to do politically (so does Israel, ask Lebanon about that), and as a pro-democratic entity, we should encourage them to fall in line by leading by example.

I am a realist, not an idealist. I cannot believe that we cannot agree that a starting point would be to bring all parties to the table. To think that ignoring a democratically elected party leads to peace is not realistic.

Shiveh :

Sorry Tom, last post was for you.

shiveh :

I liked your response. It is honest. It reminded me of a Western movie I saw many years ago. The guy sees the girl in the barn and rapes her. Then he meets the father and they join up for a purpose I do not remember (it was really a long time ago!) Through out the rest of the movie the girl is jumping around reminding them that she was raped but there was always something more important happening. So, both guys were pretending that it was a thing of the past and that “boys will be boys.”

I debate this issue very differently when it is with the Arab side. I ask you why Israelis are doing what they do and ask them why Arabs are doing what they do. It does not mean I’m pro either side, although I have been accused of both.

BobL-VA :

Any argument in favor of Isreal by the west is at best a "faith based" argument. The Jewish religion and social ethics are much more akin to the the west then the Arabs religion or way of life. Add to this the holacoust and you have the ingredients for a Jewish State that has never had to and will never take into account the displacement of the Arabs. It simply doesn't matter to Israel if the Arabs want them there or not.

If history should have taught us anything it is populations can be conquered or displaced for a period of time, but with the absence of genocide they will fight for centuries to reclaim what they believe is theirs. The Vietnamese once spent 300 years getting rid of the Chinese. It might take the Arabs 300 years to rid themselves of Isreal. However, anyone who thinks the Arabs are just going to roll over and accept Israel because we want them to is delusional. Conflict has existed continually for 60 years now and will continue to exist in differing degrees of severity until the Arabs are able to push Isreal back into the sea.

For a Muslim and an Arab to want Israel to cease to exist is not a fanatical idea. I could care less what the current administration thinks of Hamas. They haven't been right about anything in 7 years so I doubt they are right on this issue either. Hamas isn't looked at by the Arabs as a terrorist organization. Frankly, they're looked at like hero's. People willing to stand up for what they believe in. Obviously, that's the elimination of the Jewish State in the ME.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

‘…this required the displacement and ethnic domination of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were victims of their location.’

“…Behind this logic there is a cold and calculated de-humanization of the people who need to be disposed of. The manufactured necessity that you quote and agree to is of the same kind that the SS introduced in order to gas 6 million Jews…”

Need to be disposed of? That is so far from what I mean by that statement, its ridiculous. That’s what Zionism BROUGHT the Palestinian people. It brought a population of immigrants intent on dominating the Palestinians (of course not all the immigrants had that in mind). To form the Jewish state required, let me repeat that, REQUIRED the submission of the Palestinians to Jewish rule. Reread Neuman’s statement. That’s exactly what he is saying. I am just agreeing with him.

“…A lot has been said to justify the birth of the state of Israel. The naked truth is that a large group of the European Jews migrated to Palestine to occupy the land and to subjugate the local population…”

There you go, you are getting it! They went there to form a state, not just any state, but a Jewish state. Subjugate (as enslave) might be a little strong, but certainly to dominate the local population (which is what I said above). They came to form a JEWISH state with JEWISH rule.

“…The justification for this action was that once before (how many thousands of years ago?) their ancestors had conquered and ruled the land for a while. But that was enough for you to write ‘Israel will do what is necessary to survive (as a Jewish state).” Do you give the same right to the local populace that has been violated?…”

I am writing only regarding today and not with respect to regional history. The state of Israel has been justified for historical and religious reasons, the right of self determination (of the Jewish immigrants), etc. All these reasons give some legitimacy to Israel's formation. It is easy for me to see that Israel will not give up the Jewish state (today) and that is what Hamas is fighting for - the entire state of Israel. Yes, the Palestinians have a right to a state and I believe Jewish immigrants were wrong in taking Palestinian land to form a state, but it’s a done deal. Israel is a legal state under international law. Israel will no more give up their land to the Palestinians than you will to the rightful owners in North America.

“…So, Hamas is full of hate, but tell me is there any circumstance in which Israel will accept the single state solution? [1.] Would it change their position in that regard if Hamas didn’t teach Palestinian children to hate Israel? [2.] If not, what is the purpose of adding that quote from NY Times to your post? [3.] It was this part of your post that made it hard for me to continue reading it. As I mentioned hatred is contagious. I do not know what Jewish children in Israel are taught about Palestinians, I would guess that it is not complimentary but that goes with the territory. Hatred creates more hatred and it takes time to heal all the wounds. The place to start is with a fair and balanced agreement based on civilized code of conduct that brings back humanity to the process. First give the Palestinians their pride back, and then you can expect them to act accordingly…”

1. No (in my opinion).

2. No (in my opinion).

3. Why did I put the quote in my post? Because, to me, that is a big part of who Hamas IS. Their record is fair game and certainly influences Israelis unwillingness to negotiate with them. Read the title to the New York Times piece (“In Gaza, Hamas’s Fiery Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort“). Hamas’s behavior is directly related to peace efforts (obviously) and isn’t that what the PG question is all about.

Shiveh, does the truth bother you? Hamas committed these acts. How many times have posters complained that Israel has had disproportionate responses to terrorist attacks which resulted in many more Palestinians killed than Israelis (many innocents). Did you call the posters haters? Or is a different truth, say one you agree with, OK. I certainly would not view posters who criticized Israel's response to terrorism as haters.

‘…The brainwashing of Palestinian youth assures the next generation will hate the Jews and carry on the fight to liberate (all of) Palestine. In my opinion, the Israelis will do what is necessary to maintain a majority either through land laws, Jewish immigration or questionable laws like the one that does not allow Palestinians to immigrate to Israel if they marry a Israeli Arab (2002)….. it will be a considerable time into the future before Israel allows a majority Palestinian population within the state of Israel…’

“…Israel claims to be a democracy. How is it possible to be one if by “questionable laws” you do not “allow” a group of people “within the state of Israel” to change their status? Do you have a better definition for Apartheid?…”

You seemed to skip right by the brainwashing of the Palestinian youth. Is that OK? It seems to me that preparing children for martyrdom should bother you, but apparently it doesn’t. Its really all about what truth you side with.

In addition, I am the one that called the law ‘questionable‘. Obviously, you agree. How is that hate on my part? The rest of the statement is an opinion, but its an opinion of what Israel will do (and are doing) to remain a Jewish state. You can disagree with Israel’s methods to remain a Jewish state, but my statement was just an opinion that Israel will remain a Jewish state using these (and other) methods. Nothing hateful there on my part, but just in case you are interested, I would do exactly as the Israelis are doing.

I disagree that Israel is an apartheid state. That’s a popular slogan used by the left.

“…European Jews have migrated to Palestine and taken the control of the land. They intend to stay (you say that it is not subject to negotiations) [1.] and keep it by any means possible (again not subject to negotiations.) [2] On the other hand, Palestinians belonging to Hamas want Israelis out of the territory (you say that it is not subject to negotiations.) I fail to see a difference…”[3]

1. correct

2. Correct. Isn’t it obvious that Israel will do anything to keep their state. How many wars have been fought? How many terrorist attacks? How many retaliations? How long is the security wall they built? How many Palestinians and Israelis have been killed. They plan on staying.

3. Out of the West Bank, yes, it is subject to negotiations. Behind the 1967 borders, no.

“welcome back”

That’s some welcome. Let me just say that terms such as anti Semitic, bigot, Islamaphobic, xenophobic, hateful, racist, anti American etc. may be applicable and true, but they are poor arguments for proving that someone’s point of view is wrong (and I have been guilty of their usage). None of us should be intimidated by these and other terms meant to end debate (not that you meant to end this discussion). Just ask Geert Wilders (whether you agree with him or not).

I fully believe what I said regarding Hamas and try to prove my point by providing evidence to back it up. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe negotiations will bring peace. Maybe I’ll eat my words…

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott

There is a code of conduct honored by the civilized world that has evolved in order to separate us from the beasts. This code prohibits us from pursuing our goals by all means and at all costs. Also, democratic rule which Israel is governed by is based on majority rule that protects the rights of the minority, among which is the right to become the majority.

You chose the quotes in your writing and chose them to support your argument, so let me go through them to show why I found your arguments hateful.

“…this required the displacement and ethnic domination of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were victims of their location.”

Behind this logic there is a cold and calculated de-humanization of the people who need to be disposed of. The manufactured necessity that you quote and agree to is of the same kind that the SS introduced in order to gas 6 million Jews. I know it is a harsh accusation Tom, but when you threw out the code of civilized conduct that is where it leads you to. It is hateful toward the people that are victimized.

A lot has been said to justify the birth of the state of Israel. The naked truth is that a large group of the European Jews migrated to Palestine to occupy the land and to subjugate the local population. The justification for this action was that once before (how many thousands of years ago?) their ancestors had conquered and ruled the land for a while. But that was enough for you to write “Israel will do what is necessary to survive (as a Jewish state).” Do you give the same right to the local populace that has been violated?

Let’s see the next quote you chose: "...At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control….”

So, Hamas is full of hate, but tell me is there any circumstance in which Israel will accept the single state solution? Would it change their position in that regard if Hamas didn’t teach Palestinian children to hate Israel? If not, what is the purpose of adding that quote from NY Times to your post? It was this part of your post that made it hard for me to continue reading it. As I mentioned hatred is contagious. I do not know what Jewish children in Israel are taught about Palestinians, I would guess that it is not complimentary but that goes with the territory. Hatred creates more hatred and it takes time to heal all the wounds. The place to start is with a fair and balanced agreement based on civilized code of conduct that brings back humanity to the process. First give the Palestinians their pride back, and then you can expect them to act accordingly.


This following part of your writing disappointed me so much that I called “You are all HAMAS” - my apologies. I like to think it was out of character for me. This is the quote:

“The brainwashing of Palestinian youth assures the next generation will hate the Jews and carry on the fight to liberate (all of) Palestine. In my opinion, the Israelis will do what is necessary to maintain a majority either through land laws, Jewish immigration or questionable laws like the one that does not allow Palestinians to immigrate to Israel if they marry a Israeli Arab (2002)….. it will be a considerable time into the future before Israel allows a majority Palestinian population within the state of Israel.”

Israel claims to be a democracy. How is it possible to be one if by “questionable laws” you do not “allow” a group of people “within the state of Israel” to change their status? Do you have a better definition for Apartheid?

European Jews have migrated to Palestine and taken the control of the land. They intend to stay (you say that it is not subject to negotiations) and keep it by any means possible (again not subject to negotiations.) On the other hand, Palestinians belonging to Hamas want Israelis out of the territory (you say that it is not subject to negotiations.) I fail to see a difference.

Welcome back.

Tom Wonacott :

Hi Bob

You have been very consistent on this question since you first began posting....wasn't it the 60's?

I'm going to continue posting infrequently until after the election, but I hope to weigh in more often after that.

The election is fascinating to say the least.

Take care.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh (and to a lesser extent S)

First of all, I have never been one to advance a balanced viewpoint, but thanks anyway.

The book written by Michael Neumann (“The Case Against Israel”) was written as a counter to the book written by Alan Dershowitz (“The Case for Israel”). Both books should be read to get a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and they are both exceptional books. I imagine that you can figure out which one is written in support of Israel and which one is written in support of the Palestinians.

Maybe you misinterpreted the first paragraph (written by Michael Neumann) which is how the Palestinians were threatened by the Zionist (immigration) and the establishment of a Jewish State. Neuman writes from the point of view of the Palestinians. He occasionally writes for Counterpunch - hardly a pro Israeli site. My second paragraph agreed with Neumann’s point of view with the adder that the Jews have always experienced being a minority within other states and subject to “the power of life and death over them” which ‘culminated in the holocaust‘. Now if there is hate in those first two paragraphs, I fail to see it. In fact, it’s as balanced as I plan to get.

The rest of the post IS about hate. I quoted a New York Times article written in the last week and its about the hate that is TAUGHT to Palestinian youth (and adults) by Hamas. This is meant for the specific purpose of producing tomorrow’s martyrs. Hamas has social, political and military wings, thus they are able to involve themselves with the general population at the grass roots level and spread their message (of hate) and, at the same time, recruit killers. The fact that Hamas refers to the Jews as apes and monkeys is not original, its taught in many places in the Middle East, however. Hamas is not a fly by night outfit. They operate (2005) on an estimated 30-90 million dollar budget and they operate with the same basic philosophy as Hezbollah.

Hamas does not distinguish between the occupation of the West Bank and the occupation of Israel proper - except for propaganda purposes. Until that changes, I don’t support any direct dialogue. If that's too irrational or too full of hate, then so be it.

BobL-VA :

Tom Wonacott,

Welcome back.

s :

Perhaps the reason for Hamas being judged as a Terrorist organization, rather than the legal government of the Occupied territories, at least by the USA [and her lackeys in europe, Me, etc] is connected to the follwoing:


The follow is a list of key US officials who hold Israeli citizenship in addition to American citizenship:

Attorney General - Michael Mukasey
Head of Homeland Security - Michael Chertoff
Chairman Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Richard Perle
Deputy Defense Secretary (Former) - Paul Wolfowitz
Under Secretary of Defense - Douglas Feith
National Security Council Advisor - Elliott Abrams
Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff (Former) - “Scooter” Libby
White House Deputy Chief of Staff - Joshua Bolten
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs - Marc Grossman
Director of Policy Planning at the State Department - Richard Haass
U.S. Trade Representative (Cabinet-level Position) - Robert Zoellick
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - James Schlesinger
UN Representative (Former) - John Bolton
Under Secretary for Arms Control - David Wurmser
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Eliot Cohen
Senior Advisor to the President - Steve Goldsmith
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Christopher Gersten
Assistant Secretary of State - Lincoln Bloomfield
Deputy Assistant to the President - Jay Lefkowitz
White House Political Director - Ken Melman
National Security Study Group - Edward Luttwak
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Kenneth Adelman
Defense Intelligence Agency Analyst (Former) - Lawrence Franklin
National Security Council Advisor - Robert Satloff
President Export-Import Bank U.S. - Mel Sembler
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families - Christopher Gersten
Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Public Affairs - Mark Weinberger
White House Speechwriter - David Frum
White House Spokesman (Former) - Ari Fleischer
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Henry Kissinger
Deputy Secretary of Commerce - Samuel Bodman
Under Secretary of State for Management - Bonnie Cohen
Director of Foreign Service Institute - Ruth Davis
I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with the quite trivial fact that these people are Jewish. I don’t even have a problem with the idea that some people in America are both citizens of the US and citizens of another nation. That has been determined by the US Supreme Court to be legal and constitutional. I do, however, have grave concerns over anyone holding high office in one nation while holding citizenship in another nation.

Where do these people’s loyalties lay? To which nation do they hold allegiance, America or Israel? What is good for Israel is not necessarily - or even probably - good for America. When conflicts arise, which one of these people’s divided loyalties takes precedence?

My concern is that America has become the strong arm of Israel’s foreign policy instead of our own.

With a huge and grateful h/t to Sopan Greene and his Source!

Considering that Mr. Cheney [the person running foreign affairs for USA] also involved himself in an Israelo backing Think Tank it is not surprising that no one wants to talk to Hamas.

I would most sincerely suggest to the far right parties in Israel that they start ASAP with talks with Hamas, ere they run out of time of USA support [either new governence, or morelikely economic melt dawn] will make USA support for Israel something beyond the realsm of psssibility.

Tom W:

While I respect you to have pro israeli views, your recent postings put to question the rationality of your viepoint. Such ranblings will not solve the propblkem of Israel, esp as demographics and water availability wilol put a stop to any possibility of ME peace.

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott

I have to admit that I had problem reading your post to the end. So much hate, I did not want to continue. . But I read your post to the end out of curiosity and respect. Respect because your posts used to be based on logic and civility. They reflected the other side of the argument and always helped me balance my view. But this time it reinforced what I always thought. The hatred that has blinded all involved has made all alike. This conflict between the Israeli Jews and Arabs will continue till it destroys everything and everybody involved. You will be able to keep Arabs out of Israel AT ANY COST, I have no doubt. They’ll find a way to destroy Israel. I have no doubt about that either. You are all HAMAS!


See how hatred becomes contagious!!

Vic van Meter :

Why are we arguing about Hamas like this? Hamas's sole running platform has been Israel, and I very honestly doubt that their senior leadership is going to seek a ceasefire.

The problem is way too many people have far too much power and make far too much money on the situation for it to deteriorate. Look around the power bases of the world and no one talks about Israel and Palestine in terms of Israel and Palestine. When you hear Israel, you think of America and the West. When you hear Palestine, you think Iran and the Middle East.

In fact you hear a lot about Hamas, the Israeli military superstructure, the failing Fatah, rocket attacks, air strikes, weapons smuggling and other things not directly related to the well being of civilians living on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian territories. And you most likely won't. I think just about everyone has it in the back of their minds that the best possible outcome for the citizenry on the ground is one secular state making money and power off all its concerned neighbors and donors. I also think the next piece of knowledge is that it is probably never going to happen because, at this point, it is impossible to seperate Israel and Palestine from their current conditions.

The biggest problem facing the peace process is, purely and simply, that everyone in power has a vested interest in seeing the conflicts expand. The Americans and Iranians are hardly going to be mining regional power if Israel and Palestine stopped listening to them. Luckily for those two nations, Israel and Palestine would rather blow up their next door neighbors and ask for help from miles away. Would Hamas concede to a peace process after seeing what happens to Palestinian parties who begin making peaceful negotiations? Not likely that Hamas would ever do something for the good of its people over its very purpose for existence. Most of the Israeli leadership is fatalistic about conflict because, without conflict, what happens to the vast majority of the government in Israel?

The only real losers in every conflict have been the civilians, at checkpoints, being showered by rockets, being bombed by proximity, and being taken of all their money and power by governments who see nothing but good times ahead as long as the combat continues.

So in reality, the only Middle East peace process is going to come about when civilians on the ground on both sides realize that they are electing their own worst enemies and bowing to a divisive process outlined by countries across oceans and seas. Their only hope for peace is going to be crossing that no-man's land and recognizing, above religion, a human's right to exist where he would like without inflicting himself on the home of another. Peace would come on the coattails of average Palestinians and Israelis casting aside a globe of propoganda making claims about their differences and coming to an agreement on the most fundamental aspects of existence.

Good luck with that, by the way, to all involved. That may be the most difficult agreement for naturally proud and arrogant men to reach. In the meantime, at least their countries are providing ample testing to American and Iranian combat technology.

divad :

It is said that Israel's response to the rockets received indiscriminately on its towns is disproportionate. Would it be considered a proportionate response for Israelis to each rocket received to send a rocket indiscriminately on Gaza?

JRLR :

So back to playing broken record, PG? As you wish.

There is nothing there to "torpedo", for there is no Mideast peace process: only permanent conflict and perpetual war, in line with the policies pursued for decades, and to this day, by both expanding Israel and imperial USA.

The day such a process begins to unfold, first produce publicly, for everyone to see, a detailed MAP showing what the "solution" is meant to look like, on the ground, for the people living there, first for the Palestinians.

In the meantime, PG, why don't you focus on what exists:

1. war crimes and crimes against humanity we keep sponsoring and committing in the region on a daily basis, after sixty years of such nonsense?

2. our genocidal policies toward Cuba for nearly half a century?

3. our efforts to militarize (indeed to nuclearize) space -- let's all write poems on the beauty of "death stars" while, we "remain the only country of the 66 member states (joined by Israel, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands?...) to oppose launching formal negotiations on outer space", at the UN Conference on Disarmament! (Reuters, Feb. 2001)?

4. our strategy to provoke the breakdown of efforts to ban chemical and biological weapons, while bioweapons specialists have expressed concerns that the US "may have rejected the bioweapons protocol because it is committed to continuing and expanding its secret programs," (among the suspect plans is genetic engineering of vaccine-resistant anthrax) in violation of treaties, pointing out that "Washington appears to have had no interest in developing a protocol acceptable to the pharmaceutical industry"?

5. what we need do but make sure we do not do to ensure that the next generation lives in an environment which still provides for human survival?

6. how we are, rather, moving toward hegemony, acting rationally within a lunatic doctrinal framework as it threatens survival, while some believe "another world is possible"?

How about a true reality check, for a change?

Time is running out, PG. Time is running out. Never pretend you were not forewarned.

Betty Hamilton :

I will say it again: everyone in this conflict (even Dick Cheney!) is trying to get some need met. Maybe Cheney needs conflict, and that is why he is stirring the fire. Maybe in a couple of decades we will look back and see that this was the first war over water (or other life sustaining resources). There are many seemingly immovable positions given by the various sides, and until the basis of these positions is acknowledged, there will be no room for compromise. If I tell you that I MUST have all the water and control of the roads, then you will surely say NO WAY. But if I ask you, respectfully, what you need in the way of transportation access, then you can begin to define your needs. And then you are in a position to ask what are my needs in the way of water access, and then I can define my needs for water. Maybe it will take a number of rounds, but a dialogue will take shape, and the possibilities for a better life for everyone can emerge - from the discussion between the stake holders. It is not for u s, on the outside to define what peace might look like, and opine about how conflict is needed to define national identities (which is a fascinating subject, but is just another hot stick to add fuel to the middle east fire in my humble opinion).

Ruminating on the past just brings the past into the present and projects it on the future. The past is important, but defining the present and future by the past is unproductive. Many unfortunate actions were made by players on all sides in the run up to declaring the State of Israel, and the cost, especially to Palestinians who lost property, was enormous, and extremely regrettable. I would note that many Jews lost everything in Europe, and have rebuilt their lives by moving on. They did not remain in a state of war against the German government, except in court. In court they entered into a form of arbitration, and have found at least some measure of justice. This will not be available to the Palestinians until there is peace with the Israel's. And this will not happen until there is talk, talk, talk of a respectful sort, that includes all the stake holders. The side the decides to talk, talk, talk will have the weight of the world at their shoulder.

As long as there is "dilly dallying" around and setting of conditions and blaming and general incitement of each side by the other, then the actual agendas and needs of the citizens of Israel and Palestine are not being articulated. The mantra of pushing the Israeli's into the sea is just an excuse for failure to modernize by the arab states. If the arabs were to push Israel into the sea, they will still have the same problems they have today, which are education and employment of their young people in order to develop modern economies. The first governments that will be brought down by islamic fundamentalists are Arab, not Israeli or European or American.

Dick Cheney is wrong. Hamas, as terrible as their policies are, have to be at the table, or there cannot be credible negotiations. And there cannot be credible negotiations that ignore the needs for water and other resources necessary to life, a viable economic system, equal treatment under an impartial system of justice, and human dignity, FOR ALL PARTIES. The members of Hamas are also humans. They deserve these conditions of life just as every person corresponding with the discussion deserves them. Perhaps they behave in a violent manner because they feel disenfranchised from these things?

Fahmida Abdul Sattar :

hamas has shown its stregnth in last parlimentary election though western world including israel didn't accept that but nothing matters if israel or USA dont accept the poll. palestinians have the right to vote and they voted as nexttime they have to do again. it is not matter of time wether to now negotiate or later. it is matter of fact that one day israel has to be ready for talks with hamas. as long as israel delays it will create problem for itself because palestinian's cause lies with the fate of israel. as long palestine conflict gets worse israel foundation will weaken. mossad cheif has experience. it has run an inteligence and he is right on his view. hamas is the reality and one cant deny the reality. if he does so he gets his eyes closed. it doesn't effect the reality.

Betty Hamilton :

Some time ago, I read that 40% of the water resources available to Israel are under the West Bank. This single motive is large enough to explain both the continued conflict and the reluctance to negotiate. Perhaps, if one unwound all the other grudges, complaints, etc., the need to control as much water as possible is the root of all the everlasting misery. The reluctance to negotiate, the insertion of seemingly endless conditions, etc., masks the ultimate hidden agenda(s) of the region. Perhaps only a few individuals are consciously aware of this, but if it is not water, certainly some other unacknowledged agenda, too hot for public debate, is at the root of the conflict.

Whatever the a root cause(s), they will not be brought to light without negotiation, and they cannot be resolved without acknowledgment. There is nothing to lose and everything to win by bringing all parties into discussion. Each of those persons is trying to secure that which he/she needs to continue life. Each life counts. All should be heard respectfully, fully and treated with respect. Even shouting and curses and death threats are attempts to communicate real needs, and should be explored, not dismissed, hard as that might be.

tt :

Who cares what Cheney thinks? The last 7 years has not been a great indicator of smart politics.

divad :

For Israel to sit at a table with Hamas would automatically give the latter's basic condition of its charter - the elimination of the Jewish State - some validity as well as its education of its youth of the hatred of Israel and the Jews and the islamic justification to kill them indiscriminately wherever they are. Unfortunately, the West does not or refuses to perceive that the killing of innocent by islamic suicide bombers or killers have not only killed jews but a great number of non-jews in European countries.
How do you expect Israel to have discussions with Hamas, when the Palestinian Authority refuses to compromize with the Palestinian Authorityth and hold to Gaza and destroy the Fatah in that territory, wishing to take over the last Fatah stronghold - the Al Azhar university.
Let us be realistic and admit that Hamas - who receive a lot of financial and humanitarian help which allows it to hold out - cannot be trusted when it continues to send rockets on civilian targets in Israel.
Israel withdrew from Gaza with the hope that the Palestinians would try to develop their territory rather than create conditions in which its people are jobless, hungry, angry and taught hatred.

Tom Wonacott :

Daniel, Shiveh

From “The Case Against Israel” by Michael Neumann:

“…Consider just what they [Palestinians] realized…The [new Jewish] state would run by and for those people [Jews}…Those who could not leave would have to submit to the new state. Because they were not Jewish, they would not partake of sovereignty in this state: whatever its constitution, things would be arranged so that Jews had the deciding say, at the very least in all matters the Jews decided were of vital importance. Ultimately, “the Jews” would hold the power of life and death over the Palestinians…”

It can be argued that the Jews have always faced the above situation at least since the time of the “Land of Israel” and, of course, the anti Semitism that Jews faced throughout history culminated in the holocaust. One of the reasons for the “Jewish state” was to escape such discrimination but as Neumann argues, this required the displacement and ethnic domination of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were victims of their location.

Neumann’s statement can also be written in reverse and the Israelis will not allow “the Palestinians” to “hold the power of life and death over the Israelis“ at all costs - at least for the foreseeable future. The Israelis, considering the bitterness of the current fight, have tremendous concerns over a potential Palestinian rule by majority either in a binational state (single state solution) or by demographics at some point in the future.

Hamas is a grass roots organization active in social work and charity. Hamas is pledged to the destruction of Israel. Part of their program involves teaching the Palestinians.

From the New York Times, April 1, 2008:

"...At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.
Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom,” teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of Israel.
Such incitement against Israel and Jews was supposed to be banned under the 1993 Oslo accords and the 2003 “road map” peace plan. While the Palestinian Authority under Fatah has made significant, if imperfect efforts to end incitement, Hamas, no party to those agreements, feels no such restraint..."

The brainwashing of Palestinian youth assures the next generation will hate the Jews and carry on the fight to liberate (all of) Palestine. In my opinion, the Israelis will do what is necessary to maintain a majority either through land laws, Jewish immigration or questionable laws like the one that does not allow Palestinians to immigrate to Israel if they marry a Israeli Arab (2002).

Israel, as has been pointed out, benefits to a certain degree by conflict, however, there is no future when war is the only solution, but rather than submit to Palestinian rule, Israel will do what is necessary to survive (as a Jewish state). Even if a Palestinian state becomes a reality, it will be a considerable time into the future before Israel allows a majority Palestinian population within the state of Israel.

Shiveh :

Daniel,

“One planet, one people,” is it only a bumper sticker or is it more?

If we survive the next few centuries, then our fate on this small planet will become so intertwined that national independence will lose all its practicality. Let’s hope our children will be able to manage this planet fairly and prosperously. There is not much more that we can ask for. So tell me, how else can we get there if not by diluting the packets of concentrated ethnicity? Isn’t increasing entropy the norm in the universe?

Nations are important at our time because of the prevalent culture of strong attacking the weak in our world. But peace and entropy are our best hope for the future of this planet. So, do not worry Daniel, it’ll happen, but it is not so bad!!!

daniel :

To Shiveh from Daniel. I pretty much agree with your last post. It does seem the notion of a Jewish state is unsustainable. It seems Israel has managed to remain strongly consolidated as a Jewish state by having neighbors who are hostile but not so hostile as to be able to destroy Israel. If peace would occur or if Israel's neighbors were to acquire nuclear weapons Israel would have a crisis of existence. The crisis of existence by nuclear weapon threat is of course self-explanatory. The crisis born of a peace agreement is more complex but is the crisis that really all nations are facing in a world of peace: the crisis of having national identity of whatever type diluted. We see it in America with the threat of the loss of a Christian/anglo-saxon foundation. We see it in Europe with the Union dissolving borders. We see it in China with the crackdowns on certain ethnic groups. But the threat is biggest to the smallest peoples--especially a small people in an ocean of a larger ethnic or religious or racial group. Israel of course is an island of Jews in an ocean of Muslims. I fail to see how peace can lead to anything but the dilution of Israel from its current position as a Jewish state. And I would really like to read a book which projects the effects of worldwide peace on all nations, which asks what can be expected of the future of national identity. My belief is that in a world of peace the larger nations/entities have an advantage but all nations are threatened. This is a type of holocaust we all face, a bittersweet holocaust which is the dissolution of national identity in peace with other nations. Once again, thanks for conversation Shiveh. Hope to converse with you again in the future on this or other topics.

Todd, Washington DC :

Tom Wonacott:

Thank you for your comments.

Your response that "Conditions cannot be any worse in Gaza as a result of the Hamas coupe in 2007", is again part of the problem that the Palestinian people face. Are you trying to say that it was great before? That Western isolation of the Palestinian people is not political in nature? To consider for one second that the further isolation of the Palestinian people is somehow the sole fault of Hamas and not of Israel, is again, not historically correct. For whatever reason, you again side with Israel, giving it this status that trumps the suffering of the Palestinians. All I ask is that we recognize that the creation of Israel itself has caused the conditions on the ground and the manipulation of the media keeps most people ignorant to the plight of a group of human beings.

We all know how Hamas was founded on the presence on the destruction of Israel. However, Hamas' acceptance of Israel's right to exist has evolved: they want the 2 state solution with Israel going back to the 1967 borders and with no further advancement of settlements in the West Bank. Has it always been this way? Of course not, but they have come to this point now. If the rest of the world also wants peace, and the road map to peace is a 2 state solution, and that solution is to have Israel back to the 1967 borders, then let's get on with it.

To get on with it in my opinion is to accept the people's elected parties to the table, starting from a position that everyone is not going to get all they want, but make sacrifices on both sides, and start down the road of co-existence. Will there be flowers and peace signs immediately? No one expects that. But at least we can give a group of deserving human beings a home to call their own. Hmmm, sounds like how Israel was formed in the first place, but I digress.

Let's let some bygones be bygones and get on with the process by allowing all elected parties to the table. It cannot hurt to try...let's give it a chance.

Todd, Washington DC :

To Tom Wonacott:

Thank you for the comments.

Your response that "Conditions cannot be any worse in Gaza as a result of the Hamas coupe in 2007", is again part of the problem that the Palestinian people face. Are you trying to say that it was great before? That Western isolation of the Palestinian people is not political in nature? To consider for one second that the further isolation of the Palestinian people is somehow the sole fault of Hamas and not of Israel, is again, not historically correct. For whatever reason, you again side with Israel, giving it this status that trumps the suffering of the Palestinians. All I ask is that we recognize that the creation of Israel itself has caused the conditions on the ground and the manipulation of the media keeps most people ignorant to the plight of a group of human beings.

We all know how Hamas was founded on the presence on the destruction of Israel. However, Hamas' acceptance of Israel's right to exist has evolved: they want the 2 state solution with Israel going back to the 1967 borders and with no further advancement of settlements in the West Bank. Has it always been this way? Of course not, but they have come to this point now. If the rest of the world also wants peace, and the road map to peace is a 2 state solution, and that solution is to have Israel back to the 1967 borders, then let's get on with it.

To get on with it in my opinion is to accept the people's elected parties to the table, starting from a position that everyone is not going to get all they want, but make sacrifices on both sides, and start down the road of co-existence. Will there be flowers and peace signs immediately? No one expects that. But at least we can give a group of deserving human beings a home to call their own. Hmmm, sounds like how Israel was formed in the first place.

Hate is on both sides. Crimes have been committed on both sides. To exclude Hamas is to exclude Israel. To get past this, we have to get past this and everyone needs to get to the table.

radiocboy :

First off, Cheney is an idiot.

Now that I've got that off my chest...

I think there is something to looking further back in history to maybe determine why we are where we are today. I think there is something to encouraging all of the influential players to sit down and work it out together. If a group as influential and large as Hamas is left out of the conversation, they will find their way in... with bombs and violence.

Now, I'm not saying we sit down with every terrorist group on the planet and try to hug it out.

I am saying that we should look more closely at the reasons people are part of these groups and do something about the problems that create the groups in the first place. We also have to be realistic. If Hamas isn't part of the solution, they will definitely remain part of the problem even after a Peace solution has been found.

Including them can only benefit everyone.

www.cafepress.com/wetnoodle

Stars and Stripes Forever :

Maybe this is the peace with Arabs you are talking about? I'm sure you can talk to and reason with Ali al-Maliki and his followers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/31/wsaudi131.xml

Stars and Stripes Forever :

My how the uninformed and uneducated enjoy spouting ideas which they don't understand. Peace with an organization that has a blood oath to kill every one of your peoples at any cost has no place in reality. Such supposition is sheer fantasy.

Neville Chamberlain here we go again.

mohammad allam :

we cannot believe in Dick chenny.We all see how true is MR chenny.so let belive in mr Ephraim Halevy who is not the head of Mossad but also the head of agenda which the American leadership has to imlplemented.So,let accept the brain not the skull.
other hand we all know that Israel and the west following the policy of
Destroy all the middle east powers one by one=stop for some time to breath in the name of peace confernces so the mind of Arb wise rulers donot bother to think=then again go on hunting till all the power destroy like what British did with the Indian powers till finishing the Great mughal=same with all powers till the creation of greater israel.

Tom Wonacott :

Todd, Washington DC

“…So back to the original question: Like it or not, Hamas is a duly elected party of the people and they deserve a seat at the table.”

Ignorance is bliss. Conditions cannot be any worse in Gaza as a result of the Hamas coupe in 2007. The West has cut off funding to Gaza to isolate the terrorist organization and the people of Gaza are paying the price. Hamas is a political, social and military organization that defines its primary goal as the violent elimination of the State of Israel. All of the wings of Hamas function with that goal. That’s non negotiable. Any agreement with Hamas must accept that basic fact. Cease fires are temporary. Even a complete withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 borders (effectively, a zero percent probability) will change nothing for Hamas except the encouragement of a perceived victory over the Zionist state.

From Michael Young, Opinion Editor, The Daily Star, Lebanon, from an online publication, “The Islamists really are true believers”, March 27, 2008:

“…over the years academics, analysts, journalists, and others, particularly the Westerners among them, who write about militant Islamist groups, have tended to project their own liberal attitudes and desires onto such groups, misinterpreting their intentions and largely ignoring what these groups say about themselves. Inasmuch as most such observers cannot really fathom the totalitarian strain in the aims and language of armed Islamists, totalitarian in the sense of pursuing a total idea, total in its purity, they cannot accept that the total idea can also be apocalyptic. Where Nasrallah and the leaders of Hamas will repeat that Israel's elimination is a quasi-religious duty, the sympathetic Westernized observer, for whom the concept of elimination is intolerable, will think much more benignly in terms of well-intentioned "bargaining." Hamas and Hizbullah are pragmatic, they will argue, so that their statements and deeds are only leverage to achieve specific political ends that, once attained, will allow a return to harmonious equilibrium…”

When Hamas or Hezbollah (or Iran for that matter) address the occupation, they mean the “illegal” state of Israel, not just the West Bank and Jerusalem settlements. When Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran talk about eliminating Israel, and they do it frequently, it is not just rhetoric.

Hamas (and rival Islamic Jihad) has been lobbing rockets into Israel to force Israel to negotiate an end to the isolation of Gaza, and, of course, to undermine the Annapolis peace talks. Hamas was against the Oslo Accords (check the terrorist attacks against Israel after the agreement was signed) and the Camp David peace talks in 2000.

What are the fruits of directly negotiating with Hamas when there is no long term benefit for Israel (namely peace when there is no such possibility)? That Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people is really an indictment of the corrupt PA, but regardless, Israel could care less. Negotiating an end to the economic boycott could bring short term relief for both Gazans and Israelis, but in the long run will only strengthen the hand of the organization bent on the destruction of Israel. In my opinion, Hamas deserves nothing.

Finally, I agree with you that Israel needs to disband their illegal settlements and accept the 1967 border (with some adjustments and compensation). A single binational state is unworkable and the Palestinians deserve a state of their own.

(PS I posted most of this a couple a days ago but for some reason it was removed by PG - just in case it shows up, it’s redundant)

Todd, Washington DC :

To CML:

Thank you for your comments. You are right when you say that there were many countries created this century. Israel is the only country created out of guilt. The Jewish people did not fight a war to win their country. They instead lobbied the US, UK, and UN for a place, thus beginning the partition of Palestine, at the protest of the Palestinians who existed there, and the other Arab nations around it. They have "conquered" the political system. Good for them, but do not wonder why there is no respect for Israel's right to exist.

Also, thank you for your comments comparing Palestinians coming in and out of Israel to Canadians coming in and out of America. This is the problem of the average person's manipulated perception! In your mind, Palestinians are foreigners, migrant workers visiting Israel when in fact they were the original inhabitants who deserve to also live in peace. Until our minds are not clouded with false history and we accept what really happened, which is that Palestinians have been expelled from their own country and are now one of the world's largest groups of refugees, how can we deal with it? Canadians have a country to call their own. Israel and the western world have taken that away from the Palestinians.

Martyrdom Seeker? Do you dare call Patrick Henry or those who also demanded liberty or death not Freedom Fighters?

I am not saying for one second that Israel does not have the right to exist. Do the Palestinians not have that same right? Why is it ok that Israel chooses to exist trying to destroy her fellow citizens, based on religious intolerance? Why does she defy the world by continuing to build settlements? Worse, why is it ok that they then try to use the Western media to manipulate public perception against the Palestinian people? Israel practices the ultimate form of apartheid and discrimination against her own inhabitants.

So back to the original question: Like it or not, Hamas is a duly elected party of the people and they deserve a seat at the table.

BobL-VA :

It simply doesn't make a difference. Nothing will fundamentally change in this region of the world whether Hamas is invited to sit down and talk or not.

Now here's a novel idea worth considering. Let's get all the sides to sit down once again and throw words like peace around loosely and then watch nothing come of it. When that fails let's do the same thing again. When that fails let's do it a third, fourth, fifth, six, seventh, eight, ninth, tenth, etc., etc. time and watch the same results. I fear unless someone can find Tinkerbell and her bag of magic fairy dust to sprinkle on the participants of these talks there is no probability of peace.

The Israelis know this. The Arabs know this. Only the west has had trouble with understanding no matter what we do the Muslims want the Jews gone and the Jews want the land their God promised them so they will not volunatarily go anywhere. Alas, forget the logic and the facts let's just sit around and ponder whether to include Hamas in meaningless talks. There's a road map to more of the same if there ever was one.

Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India :

Hatred breeds hatred. And so does mistrust.

Let us give peace a chance.

Let us invite Hamas to the table and talk, talk, talk, ...

Someday, in near future, I am sure that they would understand - like others - and peace would return to Palestine, and Israel.

Shiveh :

Daniel

The Jewish tribes have suffered through and survived enormous challenges, till eventually after the Holocaust the cry of “never again” led to the establishment of the state of Israel. But the 21 century mentality is different from the 20th or the 19th. Jews are not living in ghettos anymore. Indeed, they are best educated, very much respected leaders of their communities. The suffering has ended, the challenges are met, therefore it is only the persistent memory of the past and not the necessity of today that makes the Jews believe having a religious state on a hostile land is essential to their existence. It is unthinkable to most Jews but arguably the biggest threat to them does come from Israel; the cure has become the problem.

Jews have a strong moral compass. They are fine people that care for their environment and the well being of their neighbors. They are a positive drive for betterment of their communities. It is unfortunate that the insistence to prolong (at any cost)a situation that is inherently unsustainable is ruining their good deeds and turning too many people against them.

Daniel - politics is full of propaganda but with your unbiased mind if you look you’ll find and recognize the accurate information you are looking for. As a poster before me correctly said “If you don’t try, it doesn’t get done.”

Edward Ulysses Cate :

After reading the "rules", folks probably would consider my attempt to point out a simple truth would be considered "personal attacks" or "inappropriate comments." So the lyin', stealin' and killin' must continue, because each of the three sides believe it is proper to lie, steal and murder in the name of THEIR religion.

VACYMRO :

The same things were said about negotiating with Sinn Fein in Ireland. Finally through the influence of Clinton and Gore (see Daring Diplomacy by Irish reporter Conor O'Clery), Blair and the Brits came to the table and got the Good Friday accords signed. It's been a rocky road but the violence has pretty much ended. Even Ian Paisley came about as well as Gerry Adams. Don't listen to the fear mongers. If you don't try, it doesn't get done.

daniel :

To Shiveh from Daniel. Thanks for reply. I have long wanted to hear from people calling for peace just what they expect peace to look like--what this peace will develop into after thirty, forty, fifty years. We hear a call for peace as if the word is self-explanatory. But what will Israel look like with peace? What will Palestine look like with peace? How with peace can there be this state with ethnic identity or that? How can tribes be kept from losing identities? Are they expected to just go on with their identities? How so with the current history behind everything? I fail to see how peace can be peace without gradual mixing between Jews and Muslims and the gradual loss of identity in hopefully emergent secular politics. Otherwise there will just be conflict. My opinion of Israel is not so much whether it is good or evil but whether it makes sense at all, whether the limited number of Jews that there are can be expected to preserve a state of just Jews through peace or war. I suppose such a state can be preserved through war but the war would have to be pretty thorough and the Jews would have to multiply their numbers. As for peace I fail to see how Israel can keep from looking like Tibet or Lebanon or at best one of the European nations now having their identities diluted in the European Union. But what puzzles me most of all is why there is no extended meditation on what exactly is expected for Israel through the directions of peace or war. It really does make you wonder if there is a conspiracy of silence. In general I find myself pretty disappointed by politics. The general public it seems receives only propaganda. But if only propaganda how can anything be solved? Again, thanks for conversation Shiveh. Nice to know at least another person besides myself is wondering what the hell is going on.

Shiveh :

Daniel,

You have a good point. I assume you know the inevitable conclusion of this trend of reasoning. That conclusion could be why it is not discussed more often.

After over 60 years, it has become clear that the initial plan for establishing a Jewish state in Palestine was flawed. Who knows, may be it was cheaper to just buy some of the land. The Louisiana Purchase or Alaska Agreement show it was possible. Although those were “investment properties” and not “main residences”, still there was enough land in Palestine to accommodate Jewish settlers. Or, may be it was better to settle and become a force for democracy in that land. A democratic state with both Arabs and Jews living in harmony and without religious bias could have been the foundation for a new and humane Middle East. But I guess the Zionists thought they can grab it “on the cheap.”

That historic piece of land has been home to many different tribes. All through the millenniums those tribes had no problem preserving their own identities. What has proved not possible is to change the identity of the land to accommodate one of the tribes. That land has its own identity. It is not exclusively Jewish or Islamic or Christian, it is all of them. To force it to have “its identity as a Jewish state” is to change the natural order prevailing in that land for millenniums. So, yes you are correct, Israel has to live in a constant state of war in order to survive. The problem is that Israel has to win each and every war in order to survive. Her enemies need to win only one.

Yousuf Hashmi :

For your question both are right why I explain later

First one pnelist says that it is too late to talk to Hamas. He is absolutely wrong. You do not start talking to enemies on initial phase and specially when you have distinct milatery advantage. you only talk to enemy when you feel that the enemy is getting stronger day by day and the human losses for the clear victory will be enormous.

And if Mr. cheny says that Hamas want to torpedo the peace talk he is absolutely right. The prganization like Hamas will evaporate as soon as the stable peace is avilable.

but another view point is also valid. Because if you do not talk to Hamas then what you do. An agreement with Mr. abbas is nothing but a peace of paper. Hamas today is a reality. forget about its ideology and its message. But more you press the Hamas to the walls the more it will bounce back. Remeber the newton law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

If somebody want real peace in middle east then it has to listen to the peoples who are most aliented stake holders. Talking Hamas will definately torpedo those who are brokering and making the money in the conflict.

Hamas is the 2nd and 3rd generation of the people who lost the war with Israel. they are the people who did not see a peaceful luxurarious life style in their life time. they do not that life beyond guns and blood also exists. these people are surviving on worst human indicators. so what you can do with them. either negotiate for a peaceful settlement or eliminate them. i think every sensible human being will opt for a peaceful settlement.

you study any movement. The first requirement for a movement is that it must have some truth which can appeal the masses. The 2nd phase is that at initial stage when the message is being spread you can depress it by many method. But once any movement is strong enough and can influence the majority of the masses then only it will be eleminated once it is successful in its cause.

Hamas today is a voice of majority. so if you want to finish it then the best option is to give them the power and let it finish by its own natural way.

I personally feel that US and other governments will definately be talking to Hamas and othere organization through mediators. Talking direct will bring the results faster

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 waging terror and war. For example, Hamas demolished the barriers between Gaza and Egypt in no time. Why do they once again allow the people of Gaza to be cut off from Egypt? Only to keep the international welfare coming.

They're not liberators, they are corrupt and profit from terror and conflict.


HCohen :

The most important question is who represents the Palestinian national movement? Is is Hamas, or is it the Fatah? The scariest and the most likely answer is that neither does. Without a coherent (not necessarily united) national movement, the prospects of a Palestinian state are deem. Some Israelis now see a window to stretch this limbo into the 2050's. In the 2050's oil will be just another energy source and no one (including the "morally inclined" Europeans) will pay attention to the Palestinians or their cause.

The Raritan :

My god. Dick Cheney may have uttered a factually correct statement... It must be some kind of mistake.

For the record, regardless of whether one thinks Israel's existence is justifiable, the Israelis made a legitimate step toward peace by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza. The Palestinians responded by firing rockets blindly into cities full of women and children. They loudly proclaim that they love death more than life. They are not partners for peace.

Bill Blakemore :

The real question is(do you trust Cheney?) He along with Nixon are the two Presidents I haven't, and my next birthday will be my 75th.

B.Bekdil :

Terrorist Hamas is the problem. the only solution is to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza. Israel must use nukes against these terrorist. Killing children isn't a problem for Israel. it's a matter of survival!

daniel :

Cheney says Hamas is doing all it can to torpedo the mideast peace talks concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Halevy, former head of Mossad, thinks its time to include Hamas in peace talks. Who's right?

Correct me if I am wrong, but suppose the best--suppose the Palestinians quit fighting Israel--suppose all of the Islamic world at peace with Israel. What will become of Israel? Will it remain a Jewish state? How so with millions of Muslims entering and exiting year after year in peaceful manner? Will Israel not be in something of the position of Tibet? I find myself very confused about Israel. I fail to understand what succesful peace talks can accomplish...

My understanding of Israel is that its existence as a Jewish state depends on continual antagonism with neighbors because otherwise it would be gradually diluted by other ethnic groups and lose its identity as a Jewish state. The problem with Tibet in respect to Han China is that it cannot resist being diluted by Han Chinese. All small ethnic/religious, etc. groups have to put up barriers between themselves and larger groups or begin multiplying or some other strategy or face melting away like sand on a beach or before a desert wind.

What I want to hear for once is a discussion of what peace will bring to Israel--what is the best projected scenario. I see only something of the Tibet situation or Lebanon. Certainly peace will gradually erode Israel's ability to defend itself should things turn ugly again. What amazes me about this whole discussion is how little the problem is really discussed. But perhaps I am wrong about everything.

CML :

Todd: check history- the middle east was carved up this century leading to the creation of MANY new states and "kingdoms" with tribal despots-in-waiting moved around like pawns in a game of appeasement.

You're right: the world doesn't owe Israel or the Jews anything. The Jews owe it to themselves to make sure they do not lose their land once again. Just as the Spanish managed to reconquer their land after a 700yr. muslim conquest, so the Jews have done the same.

Freedom fighter?? Martyrdom seeker is more accurate.

Also those who extol Israel as an apartheid state are really diminishing the true meaning of apartheid. Btw, the real practitioners of apartheid are generally arab countries which practice apartheid based on gender, religious, cultural, and sexual preferences. If I as a Cdn. cross into the US, am I not subject to lengthy border checks which entail documentation and personal &/or vehicle searches. Why should it be different for Pals. who wish to enter Israel?

Sheldon :

After seven years Cheney is about due to be right about something.

berry :

Has Dick Cheney ever been right about anything?

He is The Brain in "Pinky and The Brain". He is a paranoid who sees terrorists behind every stone, except when the terrorists are his own buddies: the Saudis and the Israelis.

Kurt Hunt :

The two postions are not mutually exclusive. They are both right (rare for Cheney). Involve Hamas in negotiations. Find out why they want to torpedo the peace process. My guess is that it has something to do with the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in land not granted to them under their UN charter. Just a guess.

When Cheney's position is further to the right than Mossad, you know he's off-the-charts insane.

MikeB :

Cheney's claim would be silly, but he is apparently in charge of U.S. policies in the Middle East, so it is horribly dangerous. As someone who lived in Europe, who actually knows and talks with ordinary Arab people, I can tell you that Dick Cheney, all of our foreign policy "suits" from both parties are completely and utterly ignorant, dangerously ignorant, engaged in wishful thinking and delussions. The ordinary Arab hates and detests Israel and the Jews. They want Israel gone. They want the Jewsish people either subjegated and humble and humiliated... or dead. If given an opportunity, they will elect Hamas or Hizbolla every time. So, start with the understanding that the centries old animosity isn't going to go away and it certainly isn't going to go away by attacking Hamas or fundimentalist Islam or Iran or Saudi Arabia. Attacking them will, in the short term, inspire fear and there will be talk of "cease fires" and "truces", but those will only be temporary, until we are distracted elsewhere. Then, the old hatred will arise again, this time directed **AT US** as well as Israel.

I don't have the slightest idea of how to fix this mess. The truth is, nobody does. The Jews actually hate and fear the Arabs and her Arab neighbors will always hate and fear **and envy** Israel. Much of the Arab population explosion in the West Bank is due to Israel's economic success. Those Arabs are often the downtrodden, the outcasts, the unemployed and unemployable of the rest of the Arab world. They are a concentration of the very sort of fanatics that are recruited in Iran and Lebanon and Afghanistan as suicide bombers. We need to start thinking about our own interests, our own economy, our own security and leave Israel to take care of itself. Israel is no ally of ours. Israeli agents commonly steal and sell our most sensative military technologies (China, for example, *bought* a complete up-to-date AWAC from Israel... something we had given them for their self defense and, in the crowded Middle East, they needed like a hole in the head). Same thing with fighters and parts, commonly sold by Israel to countries like Iran and North Korea and other "rogue" nations.)

RAS :

Before he became Vice-President, Dick Cheney was on the Board of Advisers of JINSA (The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank focusing on issues of United States national security.

One of JINSA's recommendations to the U.S. Government is the rejection of any peace process with the Palestinians that includes the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

I would suggest that Cheney is not negotiating in good faith. And that one can expect no movement towards peace as a result of his presence in the Middle-East.

steve :

You can not talk to someone who's goal is your total extinction. It does not make sense.

Steve :

You can not talk to someone who's goal is your toatal extinction. That is not comon sense.

Jeremy P :

Dick Cheney isn't right about anything.

Ray Ingrey :

The Bush/Cheney actions in Iraq made real enemies of so many people in the Arab world and by their very acts made settlement with all the Palestinians very near impossible.
Support of Yasha Arafats corrupt PLO at the exclusion of Hamas for all those years has increased support for Hamas and weakened the PLO and it would be foolish to try to have a peace agreement without including Hamas.
The former head of Mossad is right to say that Hamas must be included.
Bush /Cheney administrations have in many ways made the situation worse rather than better.
Ignorance on their part of the Arab world is mind blowing considering the personel and financial ties to the Saudi Royal Family.
Sticking one head in the sand and ignoring the actual situation on the ground is criminally stupid and hopefully some action will be taken on this and other criminally stupid decisions made by this Republican President and his ignorant Pigs to the Trough supporters and advisors in due course.
Isreal needs support of smart Americans not this money grabbing, head in the sand, halfwit bunch that are here now and who McCain intends to follow.
The war will not end between Israelis and Palestinians if a peace agreement is made with only half the people of Palestine and how anyone can even suggest it is beyond belief.
Had America shown some skill in diplomacy and leadership over the last 8 years we may well have had a better chance of a real solution.
Instead they acted like an out of control bunch of ignorant thugs, causing many in the Arab world to turn their back on America.
I believe that the saying "what it is is what it is" is appropriate. It not what you like, it is not what you planned , it is not what you wanted but it is "What it is".
It is now upto America to find a way to solve the problems on the ground and that will require dialogue between all the people affected including Hamas.
Now this will not be easy but it is the only way.

Courage my love :

Many of the comments underscore a general lack of awareness of basic facts. The PLO was est'd 2 yrs before the "occupation" -including its charter which calls for the destruction of Israel that remains unchanged to this day; it was supposed to be changed after Oslo but it never was.
Patrick's claim that Israel's precondition of its right of existence is "silly" tactical avoidance fails to appreciate that the Pal. & Arab world's refusal to accept a multicultural Jewish state is the real obstacle to peace, not parcels of land. The Arabs voted no to the 1948 partition plan and waged war; when Israel offered to give back the territories won in the "67 war in exchange for recognition, the Arabs responded no to negotiation and no to recognition. Hamas is committed to Israel's destruction- the only land appeacement they are interested in is all the land and Abbas the propped up "peace partner" says it not necessary to recognize a Jewish state composed of Jews and non Jews while hypocritically demanding a Pal. state which is rid of Jews. Anyone who really believes that handing over Judea & Samaria (the west bank) and Jerusalem to the Pals. will result in peace (and this includes Olmert and many Israeli leftists) is more committed to their ideological beliefs rather than historical and realistic truths.

JBE :

Both Hamas and the Israeli fundamentalist right are desperately trying to torpedo the talks. Hamas sends rockets, Likud expands settlements and steals land, orchards, and water.

Anyone who can't clearly see that there are TWO tiny minorities in the region wielding overwhelming power who want to kill each other - and don't care who is caught in the crossfire.

These two camps go on TV: al Jazeera, and Fox News. These two camps go to meetings, and conferences and argue their point: The fundamentalist Israelis go to congress to press their case and enlist US help. Hamas goes to Syria and Iran for the same.

THEY BOTH LIE AND THEY BOTH KILL INNOCENTS.

Hamas sends rockets.
Likud sends settlement expansion.
Hamas kidnaps soldiers.
Likud steals land and water.

Its high time to start meeting and listening to the majorities in the mess - the peace loving Israelis and the peace loving Palestinians.

The others need to be outright rejected for their approaches have brought nothing but death and destruction...

AND OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE FUELING THE MESS!

Todd, Washington DC :

Like it or not, Hamas was democratically elected to represent the Palestinians. They deserve a seat at the table. Are they terrorists? One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter: can anyone for one second NOT call the Palestinian people the oppressed? Why do we label them terrorists when they are fighting for basic human rights? Terrorists is a term that the big army gives the little army. What do we label the brave Americans fighting in the Revolutionary War? We call them heroes.

Check history. Israel as a brand new country, created only 50 years ago this May because of guilt. The world does not owe Israel anything. Whatever guilt countries have from the Holocaust has been repaid when we GAVE them a country in a place where people already lived. We should judge them for what they do NOW, and what they are doing is deplorable and criminal. We should allow the government of Palestine, both Hamas and Fatah, to the table.

Israel is at fault here. They need to stand down and allow peace to move forward. Their heavy handed usage of military technology, most paid for US appropriations, my tax dollars, is deplorable. Israel fires missiles with precision guided munitions indiscriminately into apartment blocks full of civilians. They carry out state sponsored assassinations. After their invasion of Lebanon, I am of the opinion that they should be investigated for war crimes. Why does the UN NOT have the will to go against them? The US' unwavering and biased support. We blame them for nothing and enforce nothing. Israel is a significant reason for the strife in the Middle East. The United Nations has no teeth anymore as they are afraid to do anything that the US will veto and so other Middle East countries now side with the notion that Hamas cannot be included. Sad.

Let's be clear: I excuse Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. for NOTHING. They also need to stop firing missiles and stand down. But to consider them the main protagonists is silly. They are freedom fighters trying to take back what was stolen from them, trying to create a country for themselves. It must be hard to have to accept Israel's right to exist although I agree that they need to finally agree to this. Their acquiescence to accept the 1967 borders of Israel is a start, the best one in a long time. Let them in.

Bee Cee :

Is there any chance we can get Halerburton in the Israel/Palistinian war mix?...is Dick the best advisor/spokesman for this? Really?

Higher Prophet :

Change is coming in America, and money will no longer play into our politics. Do you know what that means, our policies will no longer be so one sided that we jepordize our national secrety for the sake of the Jewish religion.

paul taylor :

Yes, Hamas can and probably will sabotage the peace talks; so to speak. But not without a little help...

And this is in the interest of Israel, in a perverse way. Israel does not want to concede what she has to concede, in order to make peace with the Palestinians.

Israel has to at least show a good faith effort, of course, toward seeking peace. So she must negotiate with the Palestinians. But Israel has reason to be more content with the status quo than with a peace that would come from losing her expanded territories. That would bring about serious internal conflict. And Israel knows that the Bush Administration will not push her over that crucial boundary, toward that elusive peace.

In the end, both Bush and Israel will be content with having negotiated for peace; but for the peace effort to have failed, to be blamed squarely on the "bad faith" of Hamas.

Redsox50 :

Did anybody see the Hamas sponsored puppet show that shows a little boy stabbing President Bush (It's all over the internet). SCARY! How on earth can you talk anything over with a group of people who would indoctrinate their children this way.

Hilary Jaspire :

What?

There's a Mideast peace process?

Something that could actually be torpedoed?

You are cracking me up! Talk about living in a bubble!

Until the US drops its unconditional coddling of the Rogue State of Israel, there will NEVER be any chance of a peace process.

Ok, now back to your bubble, people, and more pointless discussion.

JackDC :

The answer is no. I didn't read the article, and I don't know what Chaney said. But I'm sure he is wrong. Just like he's been wrong on everything else. The mystery is why anyone still listens to him or his trained chimp.

john mcmichael :

The present Administration said the Palestinian needed to hold democratic elections. So they did and Hamas won. Due to this the U.S. and Israeli governments refused to talk to the winners of the election. Elections we and the Isarels insisted on. With that kind of attitude why would Hamas not want to negotiate with the west and its supporters in the Middle East. To them their policies are unattainable because everyone keeps moving the goal post. The government of Abbas is not seen as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people they cast their vote and we reject the outcome.

Sally Em :

The time for negotiation was when Hamas won the election way back when, but the 3 D's (dubya, dick and don) stated 'we will not negotiate with terrorists'.

cheney is always in a CYA mode and blames all others before looking to himself and his puppet-boygeorge for the answers.

This Sux! :

Since when has Dick and Bush been right about anything? Dick said we would be treated as liberators and oil would pay for everything... Bush says increased violence is proof that we are winning just after he said that a decrease in violence proved we were winning. These idiots have not gotten it right since day one. Why do we continue to act like they are brainiacs with all the answers? I don't trust either. They are both idiots.

H. Simon :

Has Cheney ever been right about anything?

rann :

If Israel were to include Hamas in peace talks then they should do it one step at a time and have to show "good faith" through action. To talk, and who doesn't love to hear themselves talk, without any conditions is a complete waste of both parties' time and energy.

For both, it should be a "show me the peace, the action, show me the money," kind of situation. Otherwise, it would lead exactly to what Israel ended up with while trying to deal, endlessly, with Arafat. Arafat became a very rich man while his people, having nothing, for themselves, except, the well dug caves that move their rocketcollection.

patrick :

Israel will not stop building in disputed palestinian teritories, build separate but unequal road systems, and set a double standard of life for Isreali's and Palestinian's.

Israel ocupies the Palestian lands and the VP says Hammas is stopping peace. Israel is creating an apartheid system with Israeli's on top and Palestinians left out of their own homeland.

Whom is against brokering peace? Hammas or Israel.

you can not blame Hammas for what Isreal does or does not do,as well as you can not blame Israel for what Hammas does or does not do.

You can blame Hammas for their rocket attacks against Israeli's, and you can blame Israel for killing innocent civilians, similar to Iraq with their rocket attacks and incursions into the gaza strip.

Both equally are reponsible and Israeal has the ability to stop but they would rather crewate an apartheid system, in my opinion and their own actions.

Separate but unequal like Blacks in America.

Patrick

specspawn :

There are maybe 2 or 3 people in this world who possess any serious idea of the truth on this issue. To bandy about ideas here is like monday night quarterbacking. The die is most likely already cast. One last thing: There is nothing...NOTHING coming from the mouth of dick cheney that I or anyone else should take seriously. His modus operandi is that of a clever snake oil salesman, and he is not to be credibly evaluated. His unilateralist and selfish prosecution of anything takes his value off the table. He is nothing but backward looking, uselessly trying to set up U.S. Puppet leaders in the countries he needs resources from. Enough of him. It's time for him to go out to pasture, castrated.

truth :

Silly question, as Cheney has never been right about anything.

Chaotician :

There is asolutely no basis for peace!

Israel could have peace a hundred different ways, by simply doing the lawful thing of withdrawing to its legal "1948" borders. It might get peace by retuirning to the 1967 borders, and it surely would have safety and peace if the Jews would give up their leagalized theft of Palestinian lands through the machinations of America and Britian, exhausted by WW2.

It is not even conceivable that the ME peoples, which surely include the tribal remnants of Jews, will ever forgive and forget this invasion, occupation, and genocidal actions. On the Arab side, people are still dying because of the lack of agreemrnt on the succession of Mohammid some thousand years ago. The Jews claim some historical righats based on some hoary tribal histories claiming land that was given them by their God some three thousand years ago!

These people are cultural brothers and sisters and will never, never, ever reconcile; be it another three thousand years!

The folly of America, in fact the rest of the world, getting these peoples to some mythological place of peace is beyond absurd. Better the Jews leave and find their "promised" land somewhere else; than wait for the envitable annihilation and diaspora, one more time, at some near or far occasion when that critical and crucial battle is lost!

John :

If you are capable of thinking for yourself then it is crystal clear that Dick Cheney has no credibility left, as he has poisoned the well on too many occasions. He is the little boy who cried wolf too many times, and it is way past time for leaders we can trust again.

fdouglastucker :

patricknyc made a good comment," you make peace with your enemies and not your friends" excellent point of view

kid tuck :

wow patrick of nyc.. I like that quote. you make peace with your enemies and not your friends.. I like that.

Greg Cunneen :

I have no idea what Cheney said, but I am confident it is wrong. I have no recollection of any statement made by Cheney in the last 8 years that was even remotely close to the truth.

AMINDC :

Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas, because they do not fit as partners.Also negotiating with Abbas is a waste of time, because he cannot diliver.
Israel as occupier, and super power in the Middle East, can afford to negotiate for ever while expanding their occupation. The Palestinians,weak,isolated,under seige and occupied, they can only resist. Peacful negotiation will get them nowhere.
Israel,because it has the upperhand,is the only one who can make peace.
But does Israel really wants peace? I do not think so.
Israel cannot have all of Palestine & More without the Palestians and have peace.
Ofcoarse they can do that for as long as they have the power to do that. But that's not a solution, because no country in history stayed in power for ever.
So what are the alternatives?
In my opinion, there are three possibilities:
1. One Stat Solution for both people.
2. Two States based on 1947 UN Resolution. Or
3. Continuation of fight until one party
succeeds in eliminating the other.

I think any of the above solutions are in the best interest of both Israeles and Palestinians.

I will appreciate if any one can tell of a peaceful and workable solution other than the above.

NeilDC :

Negotiation is only useful if there is some possibility of arriving at a solution.

Hamas did not offer peace based on the 1967 borders. A few Hamas members suggested Hudna based on the 1967 borders. A Hudna is not a peace. It is a truce and it comes from the Koran. In the Koran, Hudna is offered from a position of weakness to gain time to strengthen yourself. Tie this concept with the Hamas' position (in Arabic - not English) that any agreements they make will only be used to position themselves to move to the next stage of conflict.

The silliness is not Israeli preconditions, but that anyone would even consider negotiating with a group (Hamas) that announces up front that they will not honor the principles of any agreements they make.

I visited Israel for the first time last fall. I was in Sderot, the only day that rockets didn't fall on the town. The reason? Hamas was busy killing unarmed Fatah protesters in Gaza. They killed 7 and wounded 85. Hamas put bullets into 92 of their own people. Think about that.

Israel offered the Palestinians an opportunity to show their ability to develop a responsible state by withdrawing 8,000 settlers and all of their troops from Gaza. They proceeded to elect a radical government (Hamas), destroy the underlying Palestinian Authority by armed coup and began launching thousands of rockets into Israel.

Negotiate with them? No point in it.

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 any peace that he makes still must pass muster with the militants if violence is to stop. Of course Israel prefers to negotiate with a weak man.

Even if you destroy the organization called Hamas, another group of militants will form under a different name. These preconditions of talking with anyone that does not recognize Israels right to exist and renounce violence are simply silly and a tactic to avoid negotiating. Any group can promise both of these things and change their mind tomorrow or in five years.

Peace occurs when you give your enemies enough so that they no longer desire to fight. Hamas has offered peace based on the 1967 borders. All know that this is not realistic but it is an implicit recognition of Israel and a willingness to renounce violence.

The real problems are water, electricity, and which settlements must be abandoned. If a new state of Palestine is not economically viable with its own inviolate borders, there will not be peace. Thus if Israel must continue to violate the borders of the new "State of Palestine" to protect its citizens in settlements surrounded by Palestinians, there will never be peace. The idea of Israeli=only roads and Israeli settlements within a Palestinian state is an absurdity if peace is desired. Good fences make good neighbors.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.