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Israeli Authors Propose Talks With Hamas

A barrage of headlines came just a moment ago, all letting us know that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has followed up the deaths of 8 people in Gaza by threatening more comprehensive military action: "We are getting closer to … Read More

By / September 26, 2007

A barrage of headlines came just a moment ago, all letting us know that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has followed up the deaths of 8 people in Gaza by threatening more comprehensive military action:

"We are getting closer to carrying out a widespread operation in Gaza which, for many reasons, has not taken place in the past weeks," Barak told Israel's Army Radio.

But a group of Israeli authors has a different idea–talk to Hamas about a ceasefire:

[A.B.]Yehoshua, one of Israel's most revered novelists, underpinned the call yesterday by pointing out that Israel had "many times" negotiated in the past with its sworn enemies…He said that he believed Hamas should be offered ceasefire talks before implementation of "extreme measures" against the population of Gaza.

"I do not know how Hamas will respond." But he said the offer of talks – which would be unconditional on both sides – "would throw the dice into the hands of Hamas and say stop the stupid rockets you are launching into Israel".

At this point, most of us are overfamiliar with the arguments as to whether negotiating with Hamas would be desirable or effective. The inspiring aspect of the writers' gesture, however, is that the notion that their declaration might enter the consciousness of Palestinians in Gaza "so that they would bring parallel pressures on Hamas for a ceasefire."

For whatever one thinks of the plausibility of encouraging Palestinian civil society pressure to influence Hamas, the general principle at work here is beyond reproach.

 

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