Monday :: Mar 9, 2009


by Turkana

Glenn Greenwald links to this important commentary by Roger Cohen, about the necessity of evolving and maturing our approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict. I want to highlight three keys:

Like Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah has long been treated by the United States as a proscribed terrorist group. This narrow view has ignored the fact that both organizations are now entrenched political and social movements without whose involvement regional peace is impossible.

President Obama likes to think of himself as a pragmatist. Pretending that Hamas and Hezbollah are not legitimate entities is not pragmatic.

Israel, from the time of Ben Gurion, built its state by creating facts on the ground, not through semantics. Many of its leaders, including Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, have been on wondrous political odysseys from absolutist rejection of division of the land to acceptance of a two-state solution. Yet they try to paint Hamas as irrevocably absolutist. Why should Arabs be any less pragmatic than Jews?

Cohen correctly points out that the 1988 Hamas Charter is vile. But a one-time terrorist named Menachem Begin later won a Nobel Peace Prize for trading land to make peace with Egypt. Given the right respect and motivation, people can and do change.

Of course it’s desirable that Hamas recognize Israel before negotiations. But is it essential? No. What is essential is that it renounces violence, in tandem with Israel, and the inculcation of hatred that feeds the violence.

This is the key. The old adage comes into play: one doesn't make peace with one's friends, one makes peace with one's enemies. It is not necessary that Hamas recognize Israel before negotiations. Neither is it necessary that Israel recognize the necessity of the establishment of a Palestinian state, before negotiations. It is only necessary that Hamas recognize Israel and that Israel recognize a Palestinian state when negotiations have ended. Because there will be no peace without such mutual recognition.

Turkana :: 12:46 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!