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Palestinians talk peace, Israel talks war

Hamas seems to be moving in Mahmoud Abbas’ direction, while Israel points toward another “excellent” war in Gaza.

I can’t put it any better than Haaretz’s editorial did today:

[I]nstead of encouraging Hamas’s new direction, expressing the hope that it will turn into a legitimate political party and supporting the establishment of a Palestinian unity government, Israel offered its routine response – silence and apathy toward the declarations and a threat of a military operation.

Nobody in Israel pays attention to the Palestinians anymore. We’re all pre-occupied with domestic outrages, but the atrocities in Syria have Hamas looking for a new base of operations, and this seems to be having a moderating effect on the organization. Khaled Meshal sounds ready for a unity government with Fatah, and to that end he’s come out in favor of “popular resistance” over terrorism, and says he will support the establishment of a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders alone.

I don’t know how significant a sign this is, but it’s definitely a good sign, and certainly not a bad or a meaningless one, either. It indicates that Hamas is moving in Abbas’ direction instead of the other way around – which is a big, happy surprise after the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap, which was Hamas’s triumph and Abbas’ (deliberate) humiliation.

I don’t believe Israel should negotiate with Hamas as a matter of principle, but nor do I think we should refuse as a matter of principle. If Hamas seems ready to make a deal, we should talk to them; if Hamas doesn’t seem ready, we shouldn’t. What’s happening now is a sign that Hamas may be getting ready, or at least that it will not stand in Abbas’ way. This, in my opinion, is good for the Jews, not to mention the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, the people who run this country think otherwise. Army chief Benny Gantz just gave an interview marking the third anniversary of the war in Gaza, saying it was an “excellent operation” and that “Israel will have no choice except another broad operation in Gaza.”

Excellent – just really, really outstanding. The Palestinians talk peace, we talk war. Happy New Year to you, too, Benny.

I don’t know. Hope springs eternal; maybe if Obama wins the election, which is only 10 months away, he’ll sprout a pair and lay down the law to Bibi. It’s highly unlikely, but I can’t think of anything else to hope for. Outside of that, all we’ve got to look forward to is an explosion.

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    1. Richard Witty


      Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says
      PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel rejects offer fearing renewal of only low-grade talks.


      Hamas forces ordered to cease attacks on Israeli targets, Palestinian sources say
      Sources say Hamas leader Meshal issued order based on understandings between Palestinian President Abbas and Meshal during recent talks in Cairo.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Lauren

      O-Bomb-a will never grow a pair. In fact, most of us can’t stand him. He’s a war monger and didn’t honor his election promises to the people. If he gets re-elected, it will be because he stole the vote like Bush did.
      We need a leader who will take care of the American people 1st!!!!
      Bibi’s insulting visits only irritate us considering our leaders are bought and paid for by AIPAC.

      Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      If carpet-bombing sitting ducks is considered by the army’s chief to be an excellent operation, it’s time to take the h out of Tzahal.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Philos

      Lauren, if you are an American citizen who do you then propose should run against Obama? Given that the USA is an institutionalized two-state party system I’m afraid that he is the lesser of two evils not only for the Palestinians (and moderate Israelis) but also the average and poor American citizen. Think about it and try to imagine a Newt Gingrich Administration. Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Bolton already receded into the distant past?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Philos

      Whoops. I meant to say “institutionalized two-party state system” and not the other way round. 🙂 too long in this part of the world I think

      Reply to Comment
    6. Camilla A

      Gantz’s statement shocked me to the core. It was the first thing I read yesterday and I’ve been nauseated all day long. “It was a success” and “our next operation should be swift and PAINFUL” is the kind of thing Bin Laden could have said.

      Reply to Comment
    7. JW

      How did any of Khaled Meshal’s most recent speech to crowds of Palestinians speak the language of peace???

      Reply to Comment
    8. Carl

      Larry: I don’t believe Israel should negotiate with Hamas as a matter of principle, but nor do I think we should refuse as a matter of principle”.

      Bit confused by this. Do you mean Israel shouldn’t negotiate as things stand (or stood) but should be open to if things change?


      Reply to Comment
    9. Larry, long ago life taught me an essential process, which I call the “resolution process”; essential for two or more people to bring resolution to any one event.

      Sam has a problem with Aron. First Sam contacts Aron, and expresses his problem, and Aron then replies. And next it is Sam, followed by Aron. This continues until Sam and Aron are each clear of the other’s view on that issue, and neither can think of anything to add to that issue.

      If both Sam and Aron have both been honest (each statement was an accurate expression of what each felt inside) and open (each stated all he knew about how to succeed at that issue), at the point mentioned at the end of the last paragraph each will sense agreement or agree to disagree. And whatever emotional heat was there at the beginning will be gone.

      The whole conversation was to discover each other’s perspective, not to convince the other to agree with what was presented.

      Countries that have a genuine interest in peaceful existence practice the above resolution process. Countries that have no interest in peaceful coexistence practice exchanging insults. And those countries that repeatedly plan for and practice war, have an internal desire to constantly be in conflict and a deep seated hatred for all others. And all such countries, which Israel appears to be in spades, are eventually doomed to combat themselves out of existence. History is replete with such examples.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Yeah, Carl, that’s what I meant.

      Reply to Comment
    11. AYLA

      I saw another 972 writer on another thread comparing the anti-normalization campaign to Israel not speaking to Hamas (I won’t give credit in case I’m mis-paraphrasing), and that made a lot of sense to me. Both, on a matter of principal, seem self-defeating to me, though for both, too, there are times and places to draw the line.

      Reply to Comment
    12. A

      Some unnamed Fatah official said that Mashal said he might if certain conditioned are met to join PLO and maybe temporarily stop violent acts against Israel… Wow. Awesome “peace talk”. This hase the same credibility and significance as “A Likud MK said that Avigdor Liberman told him that on certain conditions he will be willing to consider temporarily stopping build the settlements”. Will that be considered “Peace talk” in your eyes?

      Reply to Comment
    13. You could saved a lot of time and space, A, by just writing “Bah!”

      Reply to Comment
    14. A

      Larry, my point is that the “peace talk” Hamas deserves the same skepticism and cynicism that you apply when hearing “peace talk” from Bibi and Liberman. (I still did not despair from a serious discussion here, you can continue your fourth grade style response..)

      Reply to Comment
    15. Richard Witty

      Skepticism isn’t rejection. Its eyes open, pro and con.

      If Hamas is indicating a path to normalization, then better that Israel identify and connect on the respects that they desire to normalize and work from there to genuine peace.

      Rejection closes doors.

      Reply to Comment
    16. B

      Larry! What excellent, humorous economy of expression. In two small ripostes you capture the whole shebang:

      “Excellent – just really, really outstanding. The Palestinians talk peace, we talk war. Happy New Year to you, too, Benny.”

      “You could saved a lot of time and space, A, by just writing “Bah!””


      Reply to Comment
    17. don mac namara

      You must always keep the doors of communication open ; but not necessarily at an ‘overt’ level.
      State papers released in Ireland and the Uk yesterday showed that right through the worst of out ‘ troubles’ in N Ireland , Maggie Thatcher was prepared to meet with the IRA,
      She was prepared to relent on the hunger striking issue , after Bobby Sandes had died on the 69th day of his hunger strike .- He had been elected an MP while in the Maze prison and on strike.
      while Thatcher is reviled in the South of Ireland and many parts of the UK for weakening the bonds of a society to the extent that at one stage she declared ‘ there is no such thing as a society.
      Keep talking ; however much it galls you to do so.
      Otherwise Hammas will win the propaganda war

      Reply to Comment
    18. Freddy

      1. Most assume Hamas is joining the PLO to take over the West Bank, not to be more peaceful. Abbas will be 76 years old in March and it’s not clear who will succeed him.

      2. Some peace talks have already started, more or less.

      3. For those who believe in a Two State Solution, the biggest obstacle is Hamas. They won’t abide by previous Palestinian agreements and Hamas would turn the West Bank into a well armed launching pad, if they could. So Hamas has to be eliminated to implement the 2-state. So, war against Gaza.

      4. Sometimes I speculate the present government would like to keep Hamas in charge of Gaza, as a bogeyman. It’s the 2-staters that need to get rid of Hamas.

      5. Hamas is tied to Iran, Iran is working on nukes and ballistic missiles. Still want to give them a shot at sovereignty over the West Bank? PA gets a State, then Hamas takes over, then War.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Brian Cohen

      Only a very naive and ignorant westerner would bother thinking that Hamas is somehow changing it’s spots.
      Larry, you’re just another non-Arabic speaking kind-hearted person who pretends that somehow, some way, Hamas really are nice liberal democrats underneath all that fascist Islamic bravado.

      No Larry, they’re not. They are not changing and they are not interested in peace with Israel. There is absolutely no reason to even consider reaching out a hand to Hamas, unless, of course, you like having your hands chopped off – before they slit your throat.

      Hamas is a little confounded right now, since their leaders are losing their base in Syria and maybe some funding from Shiite Iran, which only funded Sunni Hamas because they hate zionist pigs like me and Larry Derfner more than they hate Sunnis. Well, it looks like that might end soon. The Gaza guys are chumming up to Fatah in public only because they think they’ll win the next elections. Again.

      The Palestinians are NOT talking peace. None of their leaders are. Fatah still refuses to negotiate without pre-conditions, and not a single Hamas leader anywhere has been quoted saying that Hamas wants peace with Israel.

      Lousy article, Larry. Stop with the wishful thinking and pretending that Arabs are going to turn into liberal democrats and make nicey nicey with you.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Excellent!
      More proof that Larry Derfner is not reading the news properly. Larry, you obviously can’t recognize a “good sign”.
      Here (Feb 12) is more validation that you’re simply blowing wishful hot air:

      Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh
      told the crowd his organization “will never
      recognize Israel.”

      “The fight will continue for the liberation
      of the entire land of Palestine and
      Jerusalem and the return of all Palestinian
      refugees,” he stated in a speech relayed
      live on state television.


      This is “talking peace”?!?!?

      Reply to Comment
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