We Cannot, and Should Not, Give Hamas Legitimacy

(New York Times) Tzipi Livni - National conflicts cannot be resolved by wars and violence, but only by a political resolution, leadership and compromise. A religious conflict is not a conflict over rights, but a fight against the right of others to live by their faith. For religious ideologists, there is no compromise. Hamas is a radical Islamic terror organization that is fighting not to establish a Palestinian state but against the existence of Jewish "infidels" living in Israel. In 2006 the international Quartet set forward parameters for Hamas that included acceptance of previous peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, commitment to nonviolence, and recognition of Israel. Hamas refused. Had Hamas adopted these principles, the lives of the residents of Gaza might today look different, and Gaza could flourish. But for Hamas, ending the conflict is something to which it will never agree. Without accepting these conditions, there's no hope for peace with Hamas; therefore, we cannot, and should not, give it legitimacy. There is no doubt, as President Biden rightfully expressed, that a country has the right to defend itself. In this case, we must defend ourselves against terror by a group that does not accept our very existence. Criticizing any government policy is legitimate, but denying the right of a country to defend its citizens is not. We must cooperate and support everything that strengthens pragmatism and weakens extremists. The solution must reflect both sides' legitimate rights, aspirations and interests, with compromises that allow us both to fulfill our legitimate national aspirations and live side-by-side in peace and security. The writer is a former Israeli vice prime minister, minister of foreign affairs and justice minister who was chief negotiator in the last two rounds of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

2021-05-31 00:00:00

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