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!”

Uri Avnery is chair of Gush Shalom, the pre-eminent peace activist organization in Israel.
 
tags: Israel/Palestine   
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11 Responses to Uri Avnery says: Israel must recognize Hamas’ government in Gaza

  1. David April 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Hamas has no intention of recognizing Israel, so by recognizing a Hamas govt give Israel nothing in return. The best deal Hamas has offered is a 20 year cease fire if Israel withdraws to 1967 lines. That is nothing. Hamas education of its children focus on the reconquest of all of so called Palestine in the long run. Israel is being told to give give give and get nothing in return. Gazans canot topple the govt or even criticize the govt under the threat of arrest and death.

    Most Israelis on the right and left would not swallow this Kool Aid that Avneri proposes and Lerner supports.

    • geraldmcgrew April 15, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      You can’t give what isn’t yours to begin with.

      • geraldmcgrew April 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

        (meant for David Re: “give give give”

  2. David April 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

    You can concede anything without getting anything in return. Hamas is re-arming itself with rockets. Guess who they are destined for? Anyone wanting to recognize Hamas should re-visit their conscious.

    • geraldmcgrew April 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

      David-

      I’LL concede this: I expect you’re quite right about the evil intentions of Hamas. But as the most powerful nation and military force in the region, Israel holds by far the best cards. If the Israeli government really wanted a just peace, they could have it. They don’t.

  3. David April 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Israel hardly holds the best cards because every time it defends itself by trying to remove the threat of rockets it faces false accusation of war crimes. I said this once, if Israel really wanted to unleash its power, not much would be left standing in the Gaza Strip. As it is, Israel practices a great deal of restraint. The fact that Hamas uses Gazans as human shields to attract sympathy is not the fault of Israel. If you want to see the lack of restraint, read up on the massacre in Hama, Syria and the war the late King Hussein unleashed on the PLO

    I’m afraid you have a bit to learn about the conflict, but Lerner would not serve as a good source.

    • geraldmcgrew April 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      “if Israel really wanted to unleash its power, not much would be left standing in the Gaza Srip.” Obviously a true lover of peace.

      Regarding the accusations Israel faces severly weakening its hand: Clearly its government cares little about its global reputation, as it has demonstrated over the years.

  4. David April 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Gerald, Clearly the security of its own people trumps a global reputation. I’m sure even you can understand that. Israel would be the focus of condemantion no matter what.

    • geraldmcgrew April 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Yes, even I can understand that. My point is that Israel’s vastly superior power gives it the ability to ensure a just and secure peace, if justice for all parties, including Palestinians, was the goal of its government. Its (currently) poor global reputation would not hamper that ability.

  5. Holly Westin May 31, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hamas says no to Israel – there is no hidden agenda they do not want the Jews there. They (Hamas) want it for themselves as booty, the spoils of war. These are crooks. Politicians you say? Same thing — crooks –

    The Arabs are a far cry from any kind of representative rule, ironically Iraq comes the closest

    It does not matter what Israel gives or agrees to the bottom line is they (Hamas-the politicians-Fatah-Arabs-Iran) THEY WANT IT ALL. That is the reality here.

    If Israel said okay we’ll give you this and that and half of Jerusalem. They would say okay and then say now give us more all of Jerusalem and a little more of Israel until come ten years and no more Israel ‘for the sake of peace’ it said enough and became totally assimilated.

    Now Israel will not do this and hopefully will remain tough and Im Yirzeh Hashem never have to go down that road.

  6. steve157 December 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    David I’m on your and Holly’s side re Hamas. Nor do I accept that Israel’s military superiority overcomes its geographic vulnerability when it comes to making peace. (However, maybe improved missile defences could soon alter the balance of risks.)
    My point is that there is a more important battle going on here, one that Israel doesn’t seem to see that it is on the verge of losing. This is the battle for international legitimacy. If you read the latest UN General Assembly resolution you will see that most of the world has already recognised the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders as an inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self determination. As far as the General Assembly and this Resolution is concerned whether Hamas wants to live in peace with Israel is completely irrelevant, indeed quite a few members believe Israel has no right to exist. For the majority that genuinely do want a two state solution they tend to the view that given Israel’s strength its security concerns are just a smokescreen for its territorial ambitions and that Israel has no intention of making peace. Building new settlements in E1 may come across as hanging tough in Israel but it looks like confirmation that Israel will never make peace in the UK. Western Governments may understand Israel’s dilemmas better than the general public but the amount of political capital they must expend even to defend Israel’s right to self defence under rocket attack is becoming prohibitive. So from where I’m sitting Israel’s security doesn’t trump its global reputation, beyond a certain point they become one and the same thing.

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