51 thoughts on “Khaled Meshal: Hamas Accepts ‘Palestinian State Based on 1967 Borders’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. For many reasons it is hard not to feel sorry for Mishal when you read the whole story.

    Imagine that he is from some other country, say Sri Lanka where the world shows some sympathy.

    You are thrown out of your home and driven into a foreign country at 11, exiled again after your countries corrupt leader backs the wrong horse in an illegal invasion, nearly murdered by a person who doesn’t know you but wants your land, then sidelined after winning an illegal election.

    In the book there is a photo that best describes the utter brutality dished out to Mishal by Israel since 1967.

    His family home in Silwan is still standing yet Mishal is not allowed to go home, ever. While the Israeli government is now threatening to demolish all the homes in Silwan to make a jews only park in illegally occupied East Jerusalem.

    Would you accept anyone’s “right to exist” if you had been treated like that by them for your whole life?

    Ethan Bronner’s problem is the same as Greg Sheridan’s. They go to the holocaust museum, they get taken to Sderot to see the fire crackers and they get so outraged they forget the tens of thousands of missiles sent into Gaza every year, the massacres over the last 41 years of thousands of Palestinians and the massive illegal settlements hidden behind the apartheid wall.

    The jewish community pay their fares, they lose their brains.

    One journalist went on one of these paid trips, he works with the same paper as McGeough, and he came back with the outlandish statement that the “arabs want things they are not entitled to”. At the time 1.5 million Gazans were being starved to death in the blockade and he seemed to think they were asking for outlandish things because they wanted food.

    Odd isn’t it? That same paper wrote two editorials stating that Israel was right to blast Gaza to bits, but got upset when the Australian Jewish Newspaper censored Jeff Halper.

    Seems murder is fine, censorship is bad.

    In that sort of environment the miracle is that McGeough got the book written at all.

  2. Indeed Richard Witty, and when you read Pappe, Finkelstein, Segev and Eldar they would seem to have always been more reasonable than Israel.

    The zionist movement have been blinkered by land, and when you get right down to it it is not much land and they carry on like conquerors of the universe every time they build another illegal settlement.

    They should try it in New York and see how far they get.

  3. Khaled Meshal never said that his alleged acceptance of the
    Two-State-Solution, based on 1967 borders would end the
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict and be followed by recognizing Israels right to exist as a Jewish state in peace and security.
    What Meshal dreams about is a retreat Israels to the borders
    of 1967, a massive invasion of millions of “Palestinian refugees” from all over the world and the end of the Zionist
    project. Meshal and his friends in the “New York Times”, in
    J-Street and the “Jewish” left can continue to dream…

    1. He said precisely what you claim he didn’t. He has stated his willingness for a decades long tahdiya, which is in effect ceding Israel’s right to exist. The fact that you throw around propaganda slogans as you do shows you to be little more than a pathetic right wing pro Israel ideologue.

  4. “On the crucial question of rewriting the Hamas charter…he was unbending. ‘Not a chance’.” Guess that charter does have some significance then.

    “In other words, if you think ill of Hamas you must also concede that Netanyahu’s rejectionist views are much closer to those of Hamas than Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni or even Ariel Sharon.”

    Or, given that you seem to be more sympathetic to Meshal than Netanyahu, you could have written the following: “In other words, if you think ill of Netanyahu you must also concede that Hamas’ rejectionist views are much closer to those of Netanyahu than Mahmoud Abbas.”

    1. Guess that charter does have some significance then.

      It has significance to Meshal only as a bargaining chip in the struggle with the west & Israel for recognition. And the more you and they make of the Charter they higher he thinks its bargaining value is. As an ideological statement I’m certain it has absolutely no meaning to him.

      Hamas’ rejectionist views are much closer to those of Netanyahu than Mahmoud Abbas.”

      I’m not sure why you bring up Abbas as he has virtually no impact on anything. He is an irrelevance politically. If he was someone to reckon with then Sharon, Olmert and now Netanyahu could easily sign a peace agreement with him. They’ve all chosen not to do so. The fact that Abbas is not a rejectionist isn’t going to help the Palestinians or Israelis get closer to a peace agreement I’m sorry to say.

      1. I think Hamas is also accountable to its right, and that the charter has substantive significance, not solely as “bargaining chip”.

  5. Halfway last year Meshal said the same thing in an interview that was published in the Journal of Palestinian Studies. He did so again vis-a-vis a French Jewish interviewer shortly before the Gaza onslaught. Norman Finkelstein even surmised that these peace overtures, if they can be called that, had so upset Israeli leading figures that they wanted to induce the old belligerence at any cost (to the Palestinians that is).

    Well, Norman Cone has now suggested a much easier way. If you don’t want the world community to take seriously what a man says about peace just suggest that you have privileged insight into his violent dreams.

  6. Back on Ethan Bronner’s case. A little research does not show up Bronner’s use of this phrase connected to Hamas that is “the destruction of Israel”, not recently anyway, except to say “officially” in one article ( in a piece he co-authored.) Other reporters used this phrase in a joint by-line. The NYTimes “topics” write-up on Hamas is pretty straight, it seems to me, and does not mention that they are for the destruction of Israel.

    I re-read Bronner’s Bullets in My Box for the occasion. He has my sympathy (obviously).

    The McGeough op-ed in today’s NYT was welcome news. There is perhaps a real opportunity to make some progress with these signals. Given Netanyahu’s recalcitrance, placing strong pressure on Israel that the risk for a real peace is better than continuing on the present path, is necessary.As well- this is not only their business- it affects the whole world. My fear is that too many Israeli’s do not want peace or a settlement of the conflict if they have to make concessions, nor do many believe it is possible anymore.

    1. You claim that “a little research” shows that Bronner did not use the phrase “destruction of Israel” and immediately follow that by saying “except…in one article.” So what you should have said is that your small amount of research did confirm at least one instance in which he used the term. Is it not possible that if he wrote this once, being a creature of habit, he might have either written this in other instances or written similar turns of phrase using slightly different terms? Remember you said you did only “a little research.” Isn’t it possible that “more research” might turn up more instances?

      You also helpfully note that other reporters have used it as well. And again, this is based on “a little research.” I’m afraid my criticism stands.

      Bronner’s piece which you link to and praise was a mordant, self-pitying waste. He was trying to elicit sympathy from readers by quoting from extremists on both sides and saying: “See how difficult it is to be me?” I’m sorry. There have been other NYT Israel correspondents who have acquited themselves much better than Bronner. In other circumstances and other venues I’m sure he’d be a crackerjack reporter. But in this particular situation he just doesn’t have the courage & depth that’s required. His analysis doesn’t go deeply enough. It probes, but then hestitates before going further. This is a reporter who is pulling his punches like crazy.

      1. Richard- I am not inspired to argue much about this though I have to say I was loathe to admit that I did a little more than the little research that I claimed. I did say that Bronner ( in a joint article) qualified his phrase with “officially”- which does not register in your rebuttal. Nor do you point out where he has said that Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel. Where is this phrase or something like it that he uses??

        I do not find it going back a reasonable amount of time to matter. “Officially” means to me Hamas documents say as much though they say otherwise at times and then go back and forth with words like “never”. I agree that there is plenty of opening for discussion with Hamas.

        I have no problem with Bronner. The NYT correspondents in Israel over the years have had a very difficult assignment and no-one is ever happy with them. This has been the case for years. I am frankly sick of all the complaints I read and hear on all sides. My own family calls the NYT anti-semitic and does not ever expect that a report would ever favor Israel.

        Bronner may not be their best reporter ever, but I don’t look to the NYT and Bronner’s reports for all of my information either. I do appreciate the interview Bronner gave to Terri Gross especially his description of the difficult work their other reporter in Gaza was doing (Taghreed El-Khodary) at the time. Bronner does impress me as young and trying to please. His articles very subtley do, in my opinion, show what/how he thinks- but as I have said before I don’t think it’s his job to offer his opinion, not forcefully anyway.

  7. Suzanne, I followed your link, read Bronner’s piece and, unlike you, didn’t sympathise (why would it be obvious to us that you would – unless you are that other Suzanne?).

    The view that we are dealing here with two incompatible narratives, in the language of either of which one is condemned to speak (thus attracting the ire of the other side), seems to me to negate the possibility that propositions from either side, even when they are couched in this terminology, can still be falsified. Hence the road to the ‘truth’ is not blocked by imprisonment in one narrative or the other as Bronner seems to suggest.

    To give an example: Bronner points out that Israelis refer to the cement structure between Israel and the occupied territories as the ‘Security Fence’ – Palestinians call it ‘the Wall’. Well now, I can easily think of a proposition that says ‘the Security Fence is not illegal’. One doesn’t need the term ‘the Wall’ to point out that, according to the International Court of Justice it is. Or this one ‘the Security Fence doesn’t impede Palestinian access to any bit of the occupied territories’. This too can be easily disproved.

    The same holds for such alternative terms as the Israeli ‘War of Independence’ or the Palestinian ‘catastrophe’. Think of a proposition as ‘during the War of Independence the Arabs were induced by their own leaders to leave their properties’ (this is of course a hasbara chestnut). Benny Morris has done a lot to falsify this one though he has found one minor case where that seemed to be true.

    There appears to be some ground to Bronner’s complaint though not the ground he seems to suggest (viz. that there is no way of establishing the truth because one is imprisoned within either of these incompatible paradigms). His real beef seems to me that by using terms from either of these alternative vocabularies one suggests that one’s sympathies are on one side or the other. Well, it appears to me that in many cases there is a simple solution to this. When using the Palestinian term add between brackets the Israeli equivalent and vice versa.

    When there aren’t readily found equivalents one can, as a reporter, avoid the value-loaded term. To stick to one example by Bronner: does one speak of the Gaza onslaught as a ‘massacre’? I would but I am not a reporter. A reporter can stick to mentioning the number of victims on either side, specifying the number of civilians (including women and children) killed.

    1. I too read somewhere that Israeli’s refer to the wall as a fence: I’ve never laughed so hard in all my life.

      This is a fence: http://www.danvillemuseum.org/images/MuseumFence.png

      This a wall:

      Calling it a fence is obviously an attempt to downplay its purpose.

      Incidentally, there was that other wall in Berlin that came down in 1989. Or should I say fence. And then we have the Great Fence of China. In England we have our own Hadrian’s Fence. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

      1. Moje, for the most part the separation is indeed a fence – barbed wire, more or less like what they have on the border with Lebanon and Gaza. Some parts are the high concrete wall.

        1. The fortified border between the former GDR and the FRG was also for the most part a fence, that is, outside of Berlin. Yet, when referring to the structure as a whole, it was and is universally called “die Mauer” (Wall) in German. No one talks of “The Fence” without further specifications.
          It’s really just a run-of-the-mill use of “pars pro toto”. The only difference is that of the perpetrators of these two obscenities one is for some reason given more credibility (or should I say credulity) than the other, thus one euphemism (“security fence”) is more widely accepted than the other (“anti-imperialist protection wall”).

    2. I was reading mondo’s blog to follow-up on the Iraqi Jews and came across the name “Suzanne” in a comment which is totally not me and felt the need to mention it as I was addressing you and you apparently post there.

      BTW- thanks for the prod on that subject. I did take a deep detour into the details of this episode of history which unsurprisingly is very controversial between the sides . Speaking of different narratives and differing propensities to stress one factor or another- they abound on that subject alone. But the narratives do exist and coexist. They are very important when they are first hand or close to first hand accounts. And it is very important also in the news stories. I read from both sides and from good historians and try to use some “common sense” in making judgements. For me, to come upon a piece that considers the material equitably, compassionately and non-polemically is very gratifying.

      On the other thread it seemed that you drew conclusions based on what seemed to be your preferred narrative. It seemed that you wanted the main cause for Iraqi Jews leaving to be the bombing which you were sure or sure enough was caused by Zionists of the time and perhaps officially sanctioned. And that conclusion had implications: the Iraqi Jews were not expelled by the Arabs but forced to emigrate- and it suited your narrative. And then Richard said there were no Arab expulsions. Correct me if I got that wrong. I did not find that to be quite so true. This a big topic and I don’t mean to discuss it here suffice it to say I believe it is important to bust myths, but not at the expense of the whole story or to build other myths. The story may be much more unsatisfyingly grey in color.

      I think we are complaining about the same thing here ultimately. We can look too hard for preferred narratives in the news or in our arguments pick or cherry pick authorities and then call it the real truth by our approved authorities. Digging further I find that there is a lot of repetition of assumptions or opinions. Some sources are not really the sources they seem or are what they are claimed to be either. And I don’t want to be too anxious or be gleeful about to finding nuggets that may break the now harmful myths that may have or have been created when they may add another piece to the larger picture.

      Regarding Bronner, I don’t look to the terms he uses for clues but to the stories themselves he chooses to tell. I think we are all beyond ( or maybe should be) being fooled by the words used. It’s the choice of stories that matter and the best imo are the ones that incorporate the first hand accounts. In this last Gaza war, I was not unhappy in general with his reporting or that of his colleagues at the NYTimes.

      Bronner is caught in a hard place trying not to offend either narrative, trying not to show his own feelings. We have the luxury here he does not. Maybe it’s a game then to keep up the complaints from this side to equal the complaints from the other side. Okay fine. Maybe the griping will make him a better reporter ( if he takes it on board) or maybe it will just scare him and he will be waiting for the day his assignment changes.

      Regarding you last para I believe Bronner did keep reporting the numbers or the NYT did. What he does do in a situation where a word like massacre is loaded he will get a quote from someone on the scene that uses the word.

  8. I should add that, in many cases, one doesn’t have to use the terminology from either side. More or less neutral terms can be found. Instead of ‘security fence’ or ‘wall’ for instance ‘separation barrier’. Instead of ‘war of independence’ or ‘catastrophe’ the term ‘war of 1948’. Etc. Etc.

    It seems to me that Bronner’s talk about the difficulty with the two narratives is on a par with the idea that the issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are so tremendously complicated that it is virtually impossible to come up with a solution, in other words Israel can do nothing else than hang on to the status quo.

    Also his suggestion that he, as a more or less neutral observer, has to dance around a non-existent line between two alternative narratives seems to me disingenuous. He is not a neutral observer. In Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah p.17 n.37 his praise of Dershowitz’s ‘The Case for Israel’ is mentioned. I quote: “Ethan Bronner praised Dershowitz for his ‘intelligent polemic’ and ability ‘to construct an argument’ and for being ‘especially effective at pointing to the hypocrisy of many of Israel’s critics’ ”

    He had no trouble with his vocabulary there.

    In principle, so it seems to me, the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not complicated at all. The Israelis should congratulate themselves that, in spite of that bit of international law that refers to the inadmissibility of retaining territory acquired in war (look at the preamble of UNSC Resolution 242), the international community, and now it seems also Hamas, has acquiesced in Israel retaining the 22 % of the territory it acquired, up and above the UN allocation, in the 1948 war, and that for the rest it should get the hell out of the region occupied in the 1967 war (in accordance with Eshkol’s public promise at the start of the war and also, of course, in accordance with UNSC-resolution 242).

    1. I agree with your first paragraph.

      Re the 2nd- He may be too close right now to feel any other way. Many do feel this hopelessness- on both sides.

      3rd para- No he is not a neutral observer but he is trying to be in his reporting; he says that is what he strives for. I read the note in the Finkelstein and will read the whole NYT review now- as well as his other reviews ( of Jimmy Carter’s, Amos Oz, Hass,Indyk) to try to get more of a feeling for his bias.

      Your 4th para- I agree.

    2. To beat a (perhaps) dead horse:

      The fuller quote from Ethan Bronner’s review of two books that make a case for Israel ( “The New New Historians”), one of which is the Dershowitz book:

      “Dershowitz, one of the nation’s most accomplished litigators and the author of numerous books on both law and the Jews, knows how to construct an argument. He helps himself here by choosing accusers and accusations that are extreme — Noam Chomsky, who claims that the United States and Israel are the prime sources of evil in today’s world, is a favorite.”

      I dislike Dershowitz, maybe intensely, for many reasons which I have posted here more than once. But he knows how to argue… that I grant him. So I don’t think Bronner is wrong. The feud between Finkelstein and Dershowitz is beyond juvenile and bordering on the sick. I do listen to and read Finkelstein btw. I did listen to their go around on “Democracy Now” and it practically made me ill.

      As for the hypocrisy remark:

      the fuller quote:

      Dershowitz is especially effective at pointing to the hypocrisy of many of Israel’s critics. For example, nearly every Arab state relegates Jews to a far inferior position than that of non-Jews in Israel (Jordan explicitly bars Jews from citizenship), yet no criticism of those practices is ever heard. China’s occupation of Tibet has been longer, more brutal and less justified than Israel’s of the West Bank and Gaza, yet the United Nations has never condemned China or recognized the Tibetans’ right to self-determination. There are many such well-argued points made in this book.

      When we criticize Israel, I think this is true b/c we are more involved in criticizing Israel not Arab countries or Arabs. Right wingers will say this is a “double standard” (of which they are just as guilty).

      I don’t think Dershowitz is right but he argues well. He presents a challenge and should be answered point for point. Bronner does not take this on and I don’t fault him on that. Not his job.

      BTW this was a book review from 2003 when Bronner was not reporting from the ME yet. I don’t know if that matters. But I am sure his personal views are evolving, especially in the midst of it all.

      More recently Bronner wrote reviews of Tom Segev’s book on the 67 war, of Jimmy Carter’s, of Dennis Ross’s, of Robert Fisk’s etc. In these, Bronner seems fair to both sides, his criticisms reasonable.

      1. To beat a (perhaps) dead horse

        Perhaps?? The horse died a long time ago. I don’t have the interest or energy to reply to your repetition compulsion regarding prettying up Bronner. Pls. stop posting about him till I publish another attack on his work & then you can attempt to explain or defend him once again.

  9. Suzanne,

    I don’t have sympathy for Ethan Bonner either. I followed your link and read the article. If he has covered the the I-P conflict on and off for close to a quarter of a centruy (25 years), he should be considered an experienced journalist by now. Asking for sympathy from his readers because he feels misunderstood, does not improve the image I have of him.

    I don’t like his writing style. The scenes he describes in the articles of his, that I have read, are very good, the conclusion he draws from them, on the other hand, just don’t add up.

    1. Julie- I think Bronner is trying to make us appreciate that this is not an easy assignment. It isn’t. One of the reasons is that his readers have very strong opinions on this subject. I think I would feel that it is impossible to satisfy my readership.

      If his writing style is not your cup of tea that is a different matter. I have preferred others in that job- Serge Schmemann even Steven Erlanger as far as writing goes. I don’t remember if John Burns ever had this beat but I like his writing very much.

      1. Suzanne, The I-P conflict is a very difficult subject to cover because, as you say, people have very strong opinions on it. If you are an experience journalist, as Ethan Bonner is supposed to be after 25 years of covering the conflict, you should have developped a backbone and you should be able to stand by your opinion when challenged. If you don’t have an opinion, you state the facts and let people form their own opinions. You don’t write what you think people want to hear. You get a lot more respect for writing something you believe in and standing by it. The article of Ethan Bonner you posted the link to, made him sound whiny, it was a pettiful article. You weren’t doing him a favor!

        1. I suppose to some it sounded whinny but it did not to me. It made me appreciate his situation. This is not only what he is going through but what other reporters that have had the jerusalem Desk assignment have gone through as well. I forgot to mention Deborah Sontag. I imagine that by the time their assignment is up they are quite ready to leave b/c of all the complaints. And so in order to survive until that day they must defend themselves or turn a deaf ear to it all. this is why I wonder what the purpose of this criticism is and why in fact it’s so incessant and so important in the the larger scheme of things. I don’t think it is. That said, to respond to what else you point out, I don’t think it is a reporters main job is to offer an opinion though that seeps in, it can’t be helped. By and large I DO think that Bronner has not only given the facts but by his choice of stories has let us know what he thinks. And I don’t think that he is a right-winger. I have read his recent reviews of books on this subject and it is plain from them how he thinks. But he is fair. I think he is comfortable with that. He is not brilliant, I agree, (nor very bold as you would wish). But this latter is not appropriate for this assignment.

  10. It is interesting to note that Masha’al being “unbending” about revising the HAMAS charters doesn’t seem to jibe with Rashid Khalidi’s assertions that no one in HAMAS relates to it, or has read it, or that what is written in it does not now or ever had any relevance to the organization.

    1. That’s a non sequitur. What does one have to do with the other? Meshal may have read it. But he’s made a tactical decision that it won’t be amended. Did he say he lives by it? Did he quote it? Did he say it plays any role in the day to day operation of his movement? Of course not. It doesn’t. The only people who care about the Charter are pro-Israel believers who MAKE it into something it isn’t.

  11. Mishal made an offer to Bibi three days before the attempted murder – 30 year truce for Palestine within 1967 borders. Think about that. The King of Jordan relayed the message to Bibi. Bibi tried to murder the messenger.

    Let me quote that old pinko, leftie, bleeding heart Michael Scheuer, 22 years in the CIA in his review of McGeough’s book.

    We know him pretty well in Australia thanks to our ethnic broadcaster SBS.

    “Paul McGeough’s Kill Khalid masterfully examines the Palestine-Israel war at the micro and macro levels. His detailed analysis of Israel’s attempt to murder Hamas chief Khalid Mishal is unlikely to be surpassed, but more important is his evaluation of the attack’s lasting consequences on Israel-Palestine affairs.

    Here is McGeough’s key contribution: he provides an irrefutable picture of the zero-sum game that is the Palestine-Israel war. He shows Fatahs terminal, bone deep corruption and feckless leaders: the arrogant ignorance of US and Western diplomats and the fool’s role they play in Palestinian and Israel hands: the growth of Mishal’s political and Hamas’s military power which is obscured by wishful western thinking and Fatah’s slow death: and Israel’s implacable intent to destroy Palestine by whatever means necessary: starvation, steadily expanding settlements, military force, and/or assassinations.

    Above all, McGeough illuminates the West’s bankrupt belief that the Palestine-Israel war is about democracy, nationalism or humanitarian issues.

    Kill Khalid indelibly proves the war is about religion and power, that that it will not end until either Israel or Palestine is the last man standing.”

    Now Scheuer wrote this before it was shown that Hamas had no real military power and that it was all Israeli propoganda, just as they used this sort of thing before blasting Egypt, Syria and Jordan to bits in 1967.

    And of course before the latest attack on Gaza.

  12. “It has significance to Meshal only as a bargaining chip in the struggle with the west & Israel for recognition. And the more you and they make of the Charter they higher he thinks its bargaining value is. As an ideological statement I’m certain it has absolutely no meaning to him.”

    The first half is at least a possibility and I hope you are right. As for the second, don’t you think certain is a little strong? As ever, I think a little agnosticism wouldn’t hurt.

    Also, a decades long tahdiya decisively doesn’t cede the issue of Israel’s right to exist (although I do not believe anyone should have to recognise this). I am willing to get out of the OPT only in exchange for a negotiated end to the conflict. Anything short of that (inc. a truce) wouldn’t be worth it. 242 is about land for peace; naively, I still believe in its ideal.

    1. Again, what irks me is that you examine Meshal’s views now, before ANY negotiation has happened and say: “Not good enough. Can’t make peace with this guy.” Haven’t you ever heard of negotiations? Do you expect he will give you what you want BEFORE you speak your first direct word to him?? Really, Alex. I think you’re intelligent. But if you delve a little deeper into some of yr statements you should see that they’re built on very shaky assumptions.

      You also neglect the phrase in McGeough’s article in which he indicates he has spoken to senior Hamas operatives who have told him that Meshal will be willing to be more flexible when the time is right. The time is definitely not right until the U.S. and Israel start negotiating with Hamas in earnest. If I were him I too wouldn’t concede to the west the things it wants most fr. Hamas until the movement gets something in return. What has Israel given the Hamas that would make the latter interested in or willing to make concessions?

  13. I think you’re extrapolating too much from what I say. Nonetheless, the pre-requisite for a Palestinian unity government is that Hamas be prepared to be part of a government that recognises Israel and abides by past agreements (I’m less concerned by the renunciation of violence, and I assume that two out of three will ultimately suffice). So your second question should be directed at Fatah’s negotiators in the as yet fruitless search for a unity formula.

    Regarding the second paragraph, aside from the ten year truce stuff, have Hamas ever openly asked Israel to negotiate on a wide range of issues (beyond prisoner exchange and Gaza)? That’s not a rhetorical question, btw, I genuinely don’t know.

    1. the pre-requisite for a Palestinian unity government is that Hamas be prepared to be part of a government that recognises Israel and abides by past agreements

      Once again, chutzpah. You mean “my” prerequisite, don’t you? And since when does Alex Stein get to determine what the prerequisites should be for a Palestinian unity government? Are you Palestinian? It would be wise for you to attempt to forbear from interposing your own conditions and views with those of Hamas or Fatah.

      have Hamas ever openly asked Israel to negotiate on a wide range of issues (beyond prisoner exchange and Gaza)?

      Yes, often. In just one instance, Ahmed Youssef in a Channel 10 interview said Hamas was willing to talk to Israel anywhere about anything. But this is not the only example. I think I wrote a blog post about this story a while back.

  14. No, of course I don’t mean by pre-requisite. I mean that of Fatah. I’ve been following the reports closely, and they indicate that the fundamental sticking-point remains Hamas’ unwillingness to meet these conditions.

    Will have a look for Hamas call for negotiations.

    1. Worldnet Daily:

      “If the Israelis have an offer to be discussed and [the offer includes]…the release of all [Palestinian] detainees and a stop of all Israeli aggression, including the process of withdrawal from the West Bank…then we are going to search for an effective and constructive process [that will bring this] at the end,” said al-Zahar in an interview with WorldNetDaily’s Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein and ABC Radio’s John Batchelor broadcast on Batchelor’s national program.

      Breaking News (Ireland):

      Hamas would consider holding negotiations with Israel, a top leader of the Islamic militant group said in an interview broadcast today, indicating that the hardline group was moderating its tone ahead of Palestinian parliamentary elections.

      I did find the reference to the post I wrote about a Channel 10 interview with a Hamas spokesperson, but it dealt mostly with Gilad Shalit & not broader issues.

  15. I’m not confident of Hamas’ motivations, intentions, process.

    Most similarly aren’t as well.

    They issue conflicting comments to different constituencies, as does Israel.

    For example, Netanyhu assures Obama that he is committed to peace, but then clarifies when in Israel that he means only ultimately getting to very limited administrative versions of sovereignty.

    Meshal similarly conveys “we’re willing to abide by a 10-year hudna” IF you entirely leave all 67 borders, including the kotel, and long-standing Jewish portions of the old city of Jerusalem.

    One sounds civil and potential. The other includes language that is entirely mutually exclusive and designed to be impossible, rendering the process quite difficult.

    How can one tell if they are a gullible fool, versus a visionary effective peacemaker?

    And, how important is that risk?

    Are there ways that unilateral, bi-lateral, multi-lateral efforts can get to peace, minimizing the risks to both communities, and thereby assuring that one gets to the actual goal?

    1. If by “designed to be impossible” and “rendering the process quite difficult” you’re referring to the Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders then I would suggest that Israel has designed its current grip on Palestinian land with the intention of rendering the [peace] process quite difficult.

      Difficult it may be it is, more importantly, necessary because the only other options available, Richard, are 1) a single state solution and 2) continue the conflict indefinitely (in order to appease the settlers). But, a single state solution could be quite damaging to Jews worldwide: a sixty year conflict and thousands dead for a sovereign Jewish state that, in the end, never happened.

    2. I’m not confident of Hamas’ motivations, intentions, process.

      Most similarly aren’t as well.

      What does this mean? Who is “most?” Can you quantify that? And can you make any distinction whatsoever bet. mistrust of Hamas’ motivations, intentions & process & those of Israel?? Anyone who trusts the motivations, intentions or processes of Israel more than they do of Hamas is in for a rude awakening. I think you allude to this in yr comment, but I wanted to make my own doubts equally clear.

  16. Richard says:
    That’s a non sequitur. What does one have to do with the other? Meshal may have read it. But he’s made a tactical decision that it won’t be amended. Did he say he lives by it? Did he quote it? Did he say it plays any role in the day to day operation of his movement? Of course not. It doesn’t. The only people who care about the Charter are pro-Israel believers who MAKE it into something it isn’t.


    “OF COURSE NOT”. You are making a very bold statement here. Do you have special sources of intelligence that say he DOESN’T live by it? How do you know this, really? Simply based on what Rashid Khalidi says? One could argue that this contains a germ of the idea that “Arabs don’t really mean what they say”. To say they have a charter and that one of its top leaders says he won’t change it and then to conclude that it isn’t important to them goes against logic. A believing Muslim, like a believing Jew believes the word is an important thing. The world was created with the word according to both faiths. The laws of slander and lashon hara are very strict. It is believed that the power of life and death is in the tongue is common to both faiths. For an organization to write a charter, to claim it is unalterable and then to have an outsider say that “they don’t really mean it” shows a lack of understanding of their belief system.

    1. One could argue that this contains a germ of the idea that “Arabs don’t really mean what they say”.

      No, YOU could argue this, but then again that would be racist & we would never accuse you of that. And it no more means that “Arabs don’t mean what they say” than it means that any political party in any country in the world doesn’t mean what it says when it includes a statement in its platform which it never honors.

      A believing Muslim, like a believing Jew believes the word is an important thing.

      Come off it. Which words are important? Are you claiming that every word every believing Muslim or Jew says or writes is important? It sounds as if you’re claiming that Hamas sees its Charter as a sacred document alongside the Koran possibly?

      For an organization to write a charter, to claim it is unalterable and then to have an outsider say that “they don’t really mean it” shows a lack of understanding of their belief system.

      Hmm, with that little bit of psychology and theological analysis (which hardly referenced Islam at all btw) you’re claiming that YOU understand their belief system?? My but you do provide entertainment value with yr comments.

  17. Well, as the two sources we’ve produced show, Hamas contradict themselves as much as anyone else (they obviously contain multitudes). I hope you are right that they seek a two-state solution. When they endorse 242, I’ll be convinced. (Please spare me the stuff about Israeli rejectionism; I’m more than aware of it. That’s the problem – the current Israeli government is rejectionist. Hamas are also rejectionist).

  18. To put the 600,000 into perspective, Australia boasts that we have settled 650,000 refugees in the last 60 years.

  19. Marilyn:
    “To put the 600,000 into perspective, Australia boasts that we have settled 650,000 refugees in the last 60 years”

    I have no idea why Australia, a virtually empty continent settling 650,000 in 60 years is a big deal.

  20. This isn’t the first time he expressed this. It’s like a broken record: you have to be “moderate” and accept “our rules” to qualify for negotiation (it’s not like Hamas or their followers have any grievance or say in this conflict at all, it’s all Fateh) and then we can work out some concession on your concession.

    “I have no idea why Australia, a virtually empty continent settling 650,000 in 60 years is a big deal.”

    Maybe the Zionists should have settled there instead of this problematic area huh? (Oh wait, this continent was not “virtually empty”, only “virtually empty” of white people who count.)

  21. As if to confirm Meshal, here’s former chief intelligence officer of the Israel Prisons Service (among other posts) Zvi Sela on his interrogations of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin in the mid-90s:

    [Sela quoting Yassin:] “Tzvika, listen, we had good teachers: You established a state thanks to your military power. The dead I take from you are for the sake of establishing a state, but you are killing women and children for the sake of the occupation. You already have a state. You are dirty and hypocritical. I have no interest in destroying you – all I want is a state.”

    So the father of the Hamas movement told you he recognized the State of Israel?

    “Yes. He was smart and brave. Cruel, but credible. He gave his life in the war for the freedom of his people. I tend to think that if we had tried for an agreement with him, we would have succeeded. He thought the reason the Israelis were dealing with [then PLO leader] Yasser Arafat is that they were very smart, because we knew we would get nowhere with him. In his opinion, Arafat was thoroughly corrupt.”


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