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Radical Jihad To The Politics Of Compromise

Published: Wed 25 Apr 2007 01:20 AM
From Radical Jihad To The Politics Of Compromise
Middle East News Service
[ Middle East News Service Comments: More words of wisdom from former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami. The question of how one deals with Islamic political movement is often asked. One can argue that moderation is impossible or that only pro-Globalisation people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali can lead the way or one can try to analyse and understand the dynamics of such movements.
While Ben-Ami looks at the situation in the Maghreb and elsewhere in the Arab Muslim world, his main message relates to Hamas and Israel: “When…Israel starts searching for a way to return to the idea of withdrawal from the West Bank, it probably won't find a worthier partner than Hamas. Hamas, like Israel, is not ready for the compromises entailed by a final status accord. But a long-term interim agreement is possible only with it, and not with the PLO.”
A very interesting opinion piece. But, as often is the case for those who do not have the time to read it all, the message can be summed up in two sentences: “A dialogue with political Islam, in the form of Hamas, for instance, is an unavoidable necessity. Ostracism and banning is a recipe for disaster, as the example of Algeria shows” – Sol Salbe.]
Last update - 01:50 20/04/2007
From radical jihad to the politics of compromise
By Shlomo Ben-Ami
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/850714.html
It's not surprising that the Mecca agreement and the Palestinian unity government that arose in its wake are thorns in Israel's side. For some time now, useless last-ditch battles have been a hallmark of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue. But erosion of the boycott of the Palestinian unity government, perhaps the most popular government on the Palestinian street since 1993, has become evident in many Western capitals. The idea that it's possible to isolate Hamas, to deprive it of its right to govern, to hold a dialogue solely with the "moderates" and to expect that Hamas will accept all agreements and not use its destructive power to torpedo them is unrealistic. Paradoxically, Israel and Hamas share more common ground than is apparent at first glance. The chance of a final status agreement emerging from a direct dialogue with the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mahmoud Abbas, is close to nil. When this becomes clear, and Israel starts searching for a way to return to the idea of withdrawal from the West Bank, it probably won't find a worthier partner than Hamas. Hamas, like Israel, is not ready for the compromises entailed by a final status accord. But a long-term interim agreement is possible only with it, and not with the PLO.
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www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/850714.html
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[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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