What's Needed from Hamas

(Washington Post) Henry A. Kissinger - * A serious peace process assumes a reciprocal willingness to compromise. But traditional diplomacy works most effectively when there is a general agreement on goals; a minimum condition is that both sides accept each other's legitimacy, that the right of the parties to exist is taken for granted. * Even relatively conciliatory Arab statements, such as the Beirut summit declaration of 2003, reject Israel's legitimacy. Almost all official and semi-official Arab and Palestinian media and schoolbooks present Israel as an illegitimate, imperialist interloper in the region. * The emergence of Hamas as the dominant faction in Palestine should not be treated as a radical departure. Hamas represents the mind-set that prevented the full recognition of Israel's legitimacy by the PLO for all these decades, kept Yasser Arafat from accepting partition of Palestine at Camp David in 2000, produced two intifadas, and consistently supported terrorism. * Far too much of the debate within the Palestinian camp has been over whether Israel should be destroyed immediately by permanent confrontation or in stages in which occasional negotiations serve as periodic armistices. Only a small number of moderates have accepted genuine and permanent coexistence. * The 1967 lines were established as demarcation lines of the 1948 cease-fire. Not a single Arab state accepted Israel as legitimate within these lines or was prepared to treat the dividing lines as an international border at that time. * The most logical outcome would be to trade Israeli settlement blocs around Jerusalem - a demand President Bush has all but endorsed - for some equivalent territories in present-day Israel with significant Arab populations.

2006-02-27 00:00:00

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