Hamas Could Have Chosen Peace; Instead, It Made Gaza Suffer

(Washington Post) Dennis Ross - In 2005, I told an audience of 200 Gazans that Israel's upcoming withdrawal from the territory was a time of opportunity for Palestinians. I said this time they had the power to shape their future. But if Palestinians instead turn Gaza into a platform for attacks against Israel, they could not blame the Arabs, the Europeans, the Americans - or the Israelis. Unfortunately, we know the path Hamas chose. Some argue that Israel withdrew but imposed a siege on Gaza. In reality, Hamas produced the siege. Israel's tight embargo on Gaza came only after ongoing Hamas attacks. At times, I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built. They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right. Developing Gaza was not Hamas' goal. So long as Israel exists, Hamas will seek to fight it. The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as President Bill Clinton's Middle East negotiator and was a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011.

2014-08-12 00:00:00

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