9 thoughts on “Senior Israeli General Calls for Engaging Hamas – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I find this report from Aljazeera today (Sunday March 12) interesting, too:

    Hamas’s draft government programme has left the question of recognising Israel to the Palestinian people – leaving the door open for a possible referendum.

    Hamas published a draft of its government programme on its website on Saturday.

    The fifth article in the programme says: “The question of recognising Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people.”

    Handing the issue over to a popular referendum would neatly disengage Hamas from being labelled as a hardline movement that refuses to recognise Israel on ideological grounds.

    [snip]

    Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said on Sunday that the movement believes that the issue of recognising Israel is one between states and governments, not political parties.

    “The recognition of a state should come from a government of a state not from a political, party, group or organisation,” he said.

    “Hamas in particular is not entitled, and it is not its mission, to determine whether Israel is a recognised state or not.”

    I’d be interested in reading your thoughts . . .

  2. That’s fascinating. Thanks for the story. I’ll prob. post about this tonight. I think this shows that Hamas has some pretty good political strategists. They’re trying to finesse a difficult question in the midst of some horrific political & economic pressures. I’ll give them credit for that. But of course we need to see how they follow through on this. If they don’t, then we’ll be back where we’ve been with no trust possible concerning them. Here’s hoping…

  3. The problem is time. The more time passes with Hamas as the acknowledged government, the greater Hamas’s resources will become. Financially, once Israel agrees to their receiving funds, the Europeans will feel free to provide support as well. However, just as we saw with the Fatah PA, once the attacks begin, Europe finds a way to claim their money isn’t being used for terror. Furthermore, any dollar that makes its way to Hamas, will have some portion going to its military build-up. There is no way to prevent this and the threat is real.

    What is even more important, however, is the concept of accepting a terror group whose platform espouses the destruction of a country as a legitimate government. Once acceptance and acknowledgement are given, they are rarely taken back. The Taliban would still be in power if it hadn’t been for Bin Laden. Conferring legitimacy in this instance is immoral from any standpoint, but it is worse than this because if Israel does it, the rest of the West follows and this acknowledgement will not be revoked.

    At that point, the constant attacks on Israel by the forces of the Left, the Right, some Europeans and their media will continue, but across from them, the Israelis will have a Palestinian entity and government sworn to destroy the state and receiving aid and acceptance from the very same governments and forces that are attacking Israel.

    For example, what I’ve read from you so far has included suggestions that Israelis should go to the Hague to be tried for war crimes. While this is already occuring in some Western European countries where theoretically an Israeli general could find himself being arrested and charged with war crimes, nowhere do I see a similar development concerning any Hamas or Fatah members. In fact, right now the UN cannot even come to terms with the meaning of terrorism because the Arab and Muslim nations along with their many supporters are trying to modify the agreement to include language excluding actions such as by Palestinian terrorists.

    In other words, Brom is advocating giving up practically the only leverage Israel has in this situation just so we can all hope that a group that has religion as its primary driving force will somehow give up one of the key tenets of its religion.

    Isn’t the contrary assertion just as valid? Give them nothing, let them suffer and carry the burden of making the Palestinian people suffer, isolate them, reject giving them any semblance of respect in any international forum, and see whether all this pain causes them to give up one of the central tenets in their religion.

  4. The more time passes with Hamas as the acknowledged government, the greater Hamas’s resources will become. Financially, once Israel agrees to their receiving funds, the Europeans will feel free to provide support as well.

    There is almost no chance that the PA will ever have sufficient resources even with the tax funds and European support. Palestine was a basket case before Israel began withholding the taxes and will be even more so after.

    any dollar that makes its way to Hamas, will have some portion going to its military build-up.

    Again, what’s with the Hamas military build-up thing?? You talk about them as if they’re buying F-16s on the open market. Hamas is observing a ceasefire. Hamas intends to continue the ceasefire. You can worry all you want about eventualities. But it would be much more useful to focus on what’s happening in real time and not on what could happen (or in your view “will happen”).

    What is even more important, however, is the concept of accepting a terror group whose platform espouses the destruction of a country as a legitimate government.

    And the concept of democracy in which results of elections are honored–does that not hold any sway in your view? Who says Israel has to “accept” Hamas? Israel shouldn’t do that till it gets assurances that Hamas will negotiate in good faith and that it will recognize Israel after a peace agreement is concluded. But paying the PA its rightful tax funds and not deliberately provoking crises to undermine Hamas does not constitute “acceptance.” And that’s all I’m arguing that Israel should do. Be neutral but not hostile.

    nowhere do I see a similar development concerning any Hamas or Fatah members.

    I have advocated for precisely that here. If Israel had a less bellicose and intransigent “rep” in the world community and made more serious efforts to rein in its thugs & miscreants, then Israeli herself could lobby for this. I don’t know why we’re not hearing more about Palestinians terrorists being hauled before the World Court. But I for one am all for it.

    Brom is advocating giving up practically the only leverage Israel has in this situation just so we can all hope that a group that has religion as its primary driving force will somehow give up one of the key tenets of its religion.

    Again, I think you underestimate Hamas’ ability to read the Palestinian tea leaves. Hamas did not emphasize its religious program during the campaign and has not done so since its election victory. Hamas realizes that its votes did not come from those embracing its religious agenda.

    BTW, just for the hell of it–do you view the Israeli religious establishment as a similarly pernicious force within Israeli society? I do. Though luckily they never took control of the government (though they did have monopolistic control of certain aspects of social policy).

    Give them nothing, let them suffer and carry the burden of making the Palestinian people suffer, isolate them, reject giving them any semblance of respect in any international forum, and see whether all this pain causes them to give up one of the central tenets in their religion.

    First, this is not a constructive policy. It is destructive and will only result in reaping the whirlwind. Second, if my enemy puts the screws to me and tells me they plan to deprive me of everything they can unless I do X. Does that in any way encourage me to do X? Or does it convince me that I must, with all my heart, stay steadfast in NOT doing X? Have you ever tried to beat a donkey which has made up its mind that it’s not moving? That would be the equivalent of Israel attempting to destroy the PA and lay siege to the Palestinian economy all because of Hamas being such nasty people.

  5. The Israeli religious forces are not as powerful as Hamas. They don’t win elections although they can influence outcomes in coalitions. Within their ranks I see positives and negatives. The negatives are related to those among the Israeli Orthodox who support the settlements from a religious observance POV. I also see some attempts to control Israeli society, such as marriage, divorce and conversion laws as harmful to the unity of the state. On the other hand, they are also reminders of our heritage and culture and have forced some social changes that I view positively. For example, I think it’s positive that no public transportation works on the Sabbath. I also perceive them to be positive forces in their enthusiasm for Zionism, which is deep and meaningful. I also believe that many are truly good people in the sense of morality and justice. In part it is their faith that gives them this character, although there are a small number for whom the same deep faith has caused a severe disconnect with respect to morality because they view this conflict with the Arabs in religious terms.

    Getting back to the question of being nice and neutral versus trying to crush the Palestinian entity headed by Hamas, I don’t buy your argument that Israel will reap anything worse than it is reaping. You give too much credit to this hudna when everybody knows it’s nothing more than a stalling tactic intended to allow for a buildup of arms and forces. Nobody is sitting around tanning and wasting days in leisure. They are arming themselves, training and trying to acquire weaponry. You speak as if one needs F-16s to harm Israel and Israelis gravely, but really all one needs is a couple of successful attacks by Strellas against planes taking off from Ben Gurion airport to completely transform the face of the Israeli economy.

  6. You give too much credit to this hudna when everybody knows it’s nothing more than a stalling tactic intended to allow for a buildup of arms and forces.

    That’s a mite careless don’t you think?? You mean “everybody” on the political right “knows it’s nothing more than a stalling tactic.” I ‘know’ no such thing. This is a very tired, very cynical, very self-fulfilling attitude toward a political phenomenon which has produced real benefits for both Palestinians and Israelis. Do you call lessening the number of Israeli victims of terror a “stalling tactic?” If so, that’s sad.

    They are arming themselves, training and trying to acquire weaponry.

    Yes, this is a war. That’s what warring parties do. Do you deny that the IDF is not doing the same thing? But aside from this argument, please provide documentary proof of your charge. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this tedious piece of propaganda without any substantiation.

    all one needs is a couple of successful attacks by Strellas against planes taking off from Ben Gurion airport to completely transform the face of the Israeli economy.

    Actually, the “face of the Israeli economy” has already been “transformed” by the entirely destructive impact of the conflict on it. Without such conflict, the economy would be booming (as it did during periods of relative calm over the past 10 years or so) and Israel would return to the prosperity it enjoyed then.

  7. We agree that Israel could be booming…but Israel didn’t start this war. The point is that its economy could be severely harmed by a couple of rockets.

    My evidence for the arms buildup are the occasional explosions of bombmakers in the territories where Israel states that it had no hand in the death, along with Ha’aretz reports on the flow of military goods into Gaza. This is a no-brainer, Richard, they are preparing for a new stage in the war. It may not happen for a while, but until they change their objectives, we can be certain this will happen.

    And yes, it is a stalling tactic. Show me where you have seen language from any Palestinian entity that suggests their conflict is over or that this is anything but a hudna, which by definition is a cease-fire leading to another attack.

  8. its economy could be severely harmed by a couple of rockets.

    That’s right–and all the more reason for Israel to begin negotiating seriously right now with the Palestinians to ensure that current & future Israeli generations can live prosperously and securely.

    My evidence for the arms buildup are the occasional explosions of bombmakers in the territories

    Possibly. However, one must know which terror group the bombmaker was associated with. Odds are he was affiliated with Islamic Jihad. While IJ can do damage to Israel, it is a weak group which has no real footprint among the Palestinian populace.

    Show me where you have seen language from any Palestinian entity that suggests their conflict is over or that this is anything but a hudna, which by definition is a cease-fire leading to another attack.

    “Anything but a hudna??” Hudna is an overwhelming improvement over pre-hudna and all the wars that preceded it. And “ceasefire” does NOT by definition lead to attack. In MANY cases a ceasefire is what leads to the ends of wars. After all, when two sides fight ea. other for decades, spill the blood of thousands of their countrymen & enemies, & have nothing to show for it–then both sides get tired and despondent. That’s when ceasefires can happen. And if played right ceasefires can, and HAVE, led to peace.

    Your dull drumbeat of war, war, endless war is terribly defeatist and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course there will be endless war if you believe your enemy is an irredeemable beast. But those of us with another vision will try to bring about a different, better future for our (yours and my) people.

  9. I’m sorry but in 1949 the Arab states refused to agree to permanent peace and instead demanded a cease-fire. That didn’t work too well, did it.

    As for my drumbeats of war, I have no interest in war and have no interest in anything other than moving back to Taba offer lines and separating from the Palestinians forever. I don’t even care if they make the West Bank judenrein as they have in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Gaza. Nope, let them live apart in their own state and let Israelis live in peace.

    If you, however, truly want a vision of peace, have you considered that instead of coddling the Palestinians and excusing Hamas as if it’s somehow an organization of well-meaning decent peaceniks, you could INSIST instead that the Palestinians dig up some true moderates who want to quash the terror groups and negotiate a peace agreement based on mutual recognition instead of these maximalist destroy-Israel demands? Where is the Left in its demands upon the Palestinians?!

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