Hamas Is Not the IRA

(New York Times) Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony - Underlying my Irish friends' advice to talk to Hamas is the expectation that should Israel start a dialogue, Hamas will change its ideology, renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, stop all acts of violence, suicide bombings and Kassam rocket attacks, and relinquish its weapons. But the ideology of Hamas is defined in absolutist religious terms, that of a radical version of Islam, which is not open to influence or change. At the core of this belief is the desire to create an Islamist state based on Islamic law over all the land, not just the West Bank and Gaza, but Israel as well. There is no acceptance of the notion of coexistence, no support for the idea of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, but an exclusive demand, based on fundamentalist interpretations of religious texts, for control of the entire territory. If Hamas were to accept these principles, abandon its radical beliefs and, like the IRA, transform itself into a partner for dialogue, it could join the peace process and put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people. Indeed, if Hamas stops rocket attacks on Israeli towns and releases Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, it can pave the way for an immediate and stable ceasefire in the Gaza region. Unfortunately, given the intransigent ideological and religious foundations behind Hamas' violent actions, such an expectation is quite unrealistic.

2010-09-08 09:12:08

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