Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Hamas wants

A longer term truce with Israel (ten years), the re-release to all the released prisoners who were recently re-arrested, and an end to the blockade of Gaza.

Frankly, it is not a bad deal. But I think there is zero chance that Israel will accept it. To accept would be an acknowledgment that Israel's policies with regards to Gaza for the past eight years have been a failure. There is no way that the current crazy right wing political culture in Israel would be receptive to an idea like that. Maybe that zero chance is why Hamas is making the offer. But Israel could still take it if its leadership had any political courage.

Of course, some might claim that Hamas is not really interested in going ten years without attacking Israel and as soon as the blockade is lifted, it would resume attacks. But if that happened Israel could always reimpose the blockade and retaliate for any attacks, essentially sending us right back to where we are today. Israel still would have plenty of options. The important thing about Hamas' proposal (assuming the above report is true) is that it is a step towards a long-term solution of the Gaza situation. The Egyptian cease fire proposal that Israel signed on to yesterday would not have done anything but stopped the immediate killing and frozen all the long-term problems in place.

UPDATE: Mondoweiss has a full list of Hamas' 10 conditions for the ceasefire. There is a bit more to it than my summary in the first sentence of this post. There is other stuff, like easing the process for obtaining permits to pray at the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an increase in the zone where Gazan fishermen are allowed to operate, and a reestablishment of the Gaza industrial zone. None of those extra details change my views that this would be a good deal and that I don't see any reasonable possibility that Israel would accept these terms.

The response from right wing sources is really fascinating to watch. I'm not sure which one I like the best, is it the totally unbiased way that the story is presented by Arutz Sheva? (does AR have some rule in its style guide that it must refer to the group as "the terrorist" instead of Hamas?) Is it noted Arab linguist Roger L. Simon, claiming that hudna, the Arabic word for 'truce" does not really mean "truce" but rather a "temporary Islamic truce not to be confused with real peace"? Or maybe my favorite is Carl from Israel Matzav, wondering why the Mossad hasn't murdered Azmi Bishara yet? (Bishara being the Hamas spokesperson who spoke to the media about the proposal)

(links in the above two paragraphs via Memeorandum)

UPDATE 2: Per og in the comments. Bishara is not a Hamas member after all, but rather the founder of the Israeli Balad party and a former member of the Israeli Knesset . Which makes Carl's wish that he be assassinated all the more delightful. (Thanks og!)