Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:32 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:32 | SYDNEY

Talking to Hamas


Sam Roggeveen


22 February 2008 13:27

Former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy has endorsed the idea that Israel should negotiate with Hamas. The usual objection to such proposals is that negotiations are impossible with a body that denies Israel's right to exist. But Halevy argues that insisting on a recognition of Israel's right to exist up front...

...demands an a priori renunciation of ideology before contact is made. Such a demand has never been made before either to an Arab state or to the Palestinian Liberation Organization/Fatah. There is logic in the Hamas' position that ideological "conversion" is the endgame and not the first move in a negotiation.

Why does Israel really care if Hamas recognises its right to exist, given Hamas has nothing like the power to actually make fantasies about the destruction of Israel come true? Israel is in a position of overwhelming strength against Hamas, and it should negotiate from strength rather than asking for concessions as if its very existence hung in the balance.