Uri Avnery says: Israel must recognize Hamas’ government in Gaza
Who started the deadly tit for tat? To the Israelis it is clear − it started with the abominable fire on the school bus. To the Palestinians it is clear − it started with killing a senior Hamas official. And before that it was … and before that it was … and before that it was…
In his old age a man returns to second childishness, Shakespeare said. Something similar is happening to the State of Israel.
The new round of hostilities along the Gaza Strip was terrible. A missile was fired at a school bus, critically injuring a teenage boy. At least 15 Palestinians were killed in the retaliation, including civilians, women and children. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis had to hunker down in bomb shelters in constant fear. And all as a result of a childish policy.
Who started? To the Israelis it is clear – it started with the abominable fire on the school bus. We had to retaliate to that. To the Palestinians it is clear – it started with killing a senior Hamas official. We had to retaliate to that. And before that it was … and before that it was … and before that it was…
And how will it end? Today there seems no end to it. Each side insists on not letting the other side fire the last shot.
The first childish decision was ours – Israel must on no account recognize the Hamas government because Hamas is a terror organization, which does not recognize the Jewish democratic state. Because Hamas is this and that.
This is complete – and fatal – nonsense. Hamas really is this and that, but it is the only government in Gaza. We tried to bring it down and as a result it grew stronger. Moreover, secret WikiLeaks documents recently published reveal that a senior Israeli defense official told an American diplomat Israel is interested in maintaining Hamas’ rule in Gaza in the short term, because any alternative reign would be worse.
If so, what is this bloody game for? Why continue bluffing the Israeli public when the solution is simple? Israel must recognize Hamas’ government in Gaza de facto, as an existing reality. Israel must negotiate with the existing government over practical matters that require an arrangement.
There is no point in achieving another fuzzy tahadia (calm ), with the help of another shadowy third party, with no details and no official agreement. We need an official cease fire, fixed in a written document, setting procedures to sort out complaints. We need an agreed, manifest, reliable third party to supervise this process.
Israel’s entire approach to the Gaza Strip is anachronistic. The blockade, intended to persuade the population to topple the Hamas government, failed and has turned into a stumbling-block. We must cut ourselves off from Gaza once and for all, and this means allowing Gaza to open itself in all the other directions – opening the Gaza port, airport and border with Egypt.
Israel has proved it can prevent bringing in weapons in other more effective ways. This also pertains to the next flotilla barreling our way. Let it sail in peace wheresoever it may.
This is common sense. Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy also hinted as much. Anything else is stupid, childish, one-upmanship games – he started, let him stop first, and the like. To put it simply – fatal stupidity.
Benjamin Netanyahu was also gripped by second childishness when he began his campaign to avert the oncoming “diplomatic tsunami” – world recognition of a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital.
Netanyahu, who believes one word is worth a thousand acts, is planning to turn a few more villages over to Palestinian rule, convene another Madrid-style international conference and persuade one more state to vote against recognition of the state in the UN.
How many times can we repeat these childish tricks, especially when the world’s answer is expected to be a simple cry: “Israelis, we’re fed up with you!”