Hamas offer peace, will Israel take it?

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Former US President, Jimmy Carter, has met with the exiled leader of Hamas in Syria.

Hamas (the political party) won free and fair elections last year but Israel, the US and the EU refuse to deal with them and are actively seeking to undermine their control of the Gaza Strip which they have controlled since winning the election.

Carter has, of course, been criticised by Israel and the US for meeting with Hamas.  Officially it’s because they consider Hamas to be a terrorist organisation (they don’t see the irony in supporting and financing Sinn Féin as the political wing of the IRA but refusing to deal with the Hamas political party as the political wing of the Hamas militant group) but it’s more likely to be what Hamas said to Carter that the don’t like because it now puts the ball firmly in Israel’s court, leaving them with no excuse for continuing their occupation.

According to Carter, the leader of Hamas has reiterated its position to accept an Israeli state within its original borders before it invaded Palestine and Jerusalem.  Hamas says that it will leave in peace with Israel as a neighbour if the Palestinian people agree to it.  They said that if Israel agrees to a mutual ceasefire and renunciation of violence in Gaza and West Bank then they will accept it.  They have even offered to accept a ceasfire only in Gaza to get the ball rolling.

So Hamas, it appears, is offering an olive branch.  Most Palestinians will agree to a ceasefire if it means they get their country back and stops the indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli military.  They are giving Israel the opportunity to bring hostilities to an end without Israel having to make the first move and appear weak.  Whether Israel takes this opportunity or not will prove, once and for all, whether they really want peace or if they intend to continue occupying Palestine until everyone has either been bombed or starved off their land and they can take the lot with the minimum of fuss.

I don’t really have any doubts as to what the answer will be but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt one last time.

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  1. Andrew Ian Dodge (8 comments) says:

    WTF mate? The US government did not fund the IRA; it was just moron Paddies living in Boston, NYC & Chicago. It wasn’t all Americans. Most Americans had no idea that Irish-Americans were running guns to the IRA. This is the type of anti-American bullshit I expect to read in The Independent not here.

    I can’t believe someone as sensible as you is buying this load of crap from Carter and Hamas. When Hamas ever kept to their word? Carter has a poor record of being realistic in these type of situations. An American President shilling for murderous terrorists. What a deplorable chain of events.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    AID, the American government allowed the political wing of the IRA to fundraise in the US and if memory serves, I believe many US politicians took part in fundraising events for Sinn Féin. I don’t say that all Americans supported them in the same way as not all Israeli’s drive tanks into Gaza or fly helicopter gunships firing missiles into busy markets. However, you can’t deny that the US establishment supported Sinn Féin which was the political wing of the IRA.

    It’s interesting that you ask when Hamas have ever kept their word. Have they had the opportunity? Note that the article says that Hamas have reiterated their position to accept an Israeli state within its pre-1967 borders. Did you know they’d ever said it in the first place? It’s a break from their long-standing policy of refusing to accept Israel. Who knows what they’re prepared to do when the Americans and Israeli’s won’t talk to them.

    I didn’t think I’d ever see the day when the IRA stopped blowing stuff up over here but they did and it only happened when the British government agreed to talk to the other side at a time when support for the IRA was low. I think Palestine is at the point where the Palestinians have had enough of the occupation and will vote for peace given the opportunity. All it needs is for Israel to stop being so stubborn, accept that they are never going to get anywhere through military force and talk to Hamas. They are, after all, the elected government in Gaza and no amount of revisionism by the pro-Israeli lobby can change the fact that Hamas won what was declared a free and fair election by international monitors.

    Hamas says that they want peace, they say they’ll accept Israel as a neighbour if they withdraw from their illegal settlements and illegal occupation of Jerusalem and they say they’ll accept a ceasefire. You might not trust them, the Israeli’s obviously don’t, but where’s the harm in saying “ok, you’re making promises – you’ve got 3 months to deliver”. If they don’t then Israel has justification (assuming they don’t spend the time hindering them) to refuse to deal with Hamas. If they do then you’ve got peace. It’s a win-win situation for Israel – if they don’t take the opportunity then there’s no doubt as to their motives towards Palestine.

  3. Scaffold (146 comments) says:

    The worst thing about Western liberalism is that it tries to understand and embrace those who must simply be erased off the face of the planet.

  4. George Ashcroft (122 comments) says:

    Wonko, do you seriously believe the very words you write? Hamas offering an olive branch?? Of course, it must have been tied to the side of the last rocket they fired or perhaps it was strapped to the back of the last suicide bomber. Israel subborn??? YOU would be stubborn if you were having rockets fired at you, day after day and had to live with the daily spectre of being blown to bits by a suicide bomber.

    Don’t you understand that the words of Jimmy Carter mean precious little to a people and nation whose very survival is at stake with every rocket, every bomb and every bullet? Israel to renounce violence? What a mentality. Israel are the ones under attack!

    It is the Israelies who are the frightened and the terrorised. Yet they have the God-given courage and the determination to fight back against the aggressor. Israel should be applauded, not condemned. And Israel should treat the words of Carter and Hamas with the skepticism that those words deserve.

  5. Dark Heretic (15 comments) says:


    Sorry I have disagree with you on this. Hamas may be the freely elected government (who incidentally happen to be a terrorist organisation) BUT it does not control the paramilitary groups any more than the previous administration did.

    There are too many paramilitary groups with too many different ideologies and beliefs etc for peace ever to be sorted out.

    Get the Arab countries to recognise Israel’s right to exist first and foremost. Get Iran and Sudan to stop sending arms in to the west bank and palestine. After that olive branches and peace talks may pay dividends.

  6. axel (1214 comments) says:

    And thus are we caught!

    Billions get shunted into the area for guns and banging things, one side tries to compromise and gets slated.

    Does any one remember that Maenachin Begin had a £5,000 reward on his head for leading the Stern Gang and blowing up the King David Hotel?

    In this case we support the aggresive invaders, before 1948 it was merely a british colony in the arse end of nowehere, we got out as quick as we could and look at the mess they have made, both sides by the way. So, we are still supporting the nasty invader, surely this should against our bleeding heart liberal consciences?

  7. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    George, your view is very blinkered and I’m guessing you’re a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. You conveniently forget that Israel is the occupying power, not the other way round and that Israel is the one that uses tanks and helicopter gunships as a response to homemade rockets in violation of international law which states that the response to an attack must be proportionate to the threat.

    Israel was originally defending itself but quickly went from defender to aggressor. They invaded Palestine because Palestine attacked them but after they’d invaded and neutralised the Palestinian army did they withdraw? No, they’ve continued to illegally occupy Palestine for the last half a century despite countless UN resolutions telling them to withdraw.

    Palestinian militants attack Israel because they are the illegal occupying power – the only country illegally occupying another country recognised by the UN. If Israel wasn’t illegally occupying Palestine most militants would stop attacking Israel and those that continued would be mopped up by an independent Palestinian government left to enforce the peace deal without the usual hindrance.

    Dark Heretic,

    Hamas has a militant and political wing, just like Sinn Féin/IRA. The difference is that they have the same name. Are the Hamas politicians that won the elections in Gaza suicide bombers or directing suicide bombers any more than Sinn Féin were terrorists or directing terrorist attacks? Did Sinn Féin have control over IRA cells? The IRA leadership didn’t control all of its own cells but that didn’t stop Sinn Féin from representing the IRA in peace talks or negotiating decommissioning. There were also many factions in Northern Ireland but they still managed to get a peace settlement.

    I think every country in the Middle East except Iran recognises Israel’s right to exist, even Hamas says that it will live in peace with Israel as long as they withdraw to their legal border and give Palestine back the land it has stolen from them. The Iranian President, Mach Two in a Dinner Jacket, is just playing his trap about Israel – he hasn’t got the balls or the resources necessary to attack Israel. He only gets support at home when he’s making idle threats against Israel because they’re still illegally occupying Palestine.

    Israel controls all of Palestine’s borders – if weapons are being smuggled into the country then Israel either needs to effectively police the borders properly or, even better, pull out of Palestine and let the democratically elected government control its own borders. If the Palestinian government is allowed to get on with running the country instead of being prevented from doing so by the Israeli military they might do a better job. The Israeli military blows up roads, cuts off electricity and telephone lines to government buildings, etc. and then tell the world the Palestinian government is doing nothing to stop militants. It’s not hard to believe the Israeli’s allow the arms smuggling to keep the militants going to give them the justification America needs to let them keep doing what they do.

    What both of you, George and Dark Heretic, seem to be saying is that rather than see if Hamas is genuinely offering peace, we should assume that they are telling lies and let the illegal occupation and endless violence continue ad infinitum?

    It’s a shame that it takes an ex-president of the United States – Israel’s biggest supporter and benefactor – acting independently to find out that Hamas is actually offering peace and that Israel, the US and the EU are refusing to even listen. They all claim to want peace for the Middle East but when it’s offered by someone inconvenient they don’t want to know.

    I’ve asked this of the pro-Israel lobby before and never got an answer – if Israel wasn’t Jewish and Palestine wasn’t Arab, would you still support Israel? If you’re honest you’ll admit that the answer is probably no.

  8. George Ashcroft (122 comments) says:

    If Palestine was ENGLISH and not Arab I would still defend Israel. You have a nation – a people – who throughout various points in history have been persecuted and driven out from their lands. Who can they truly rely on in this world to ensure their survival as a nation?

    In Europe during the middle-ages the Jews suffered persecution, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacres. In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighbourhoods called ghettos.

    For much of the 19th century, Imperial Russia, which included much of Poland, contained the world’s largest Jewish population. From Alexander III’s reign until the end of Tsarist rule in Russia, Jews were restricted to the Jewish Pale of Settlement, and banned from many jobs and locations. They were subject to racist laws, like the May Laws, and were targeted in hundreds of violent anti-Jewish riots, called pogroms, that had unofficial state support.

    Even during WW2 and the Holocaust the British prohibited Jewish immigration into the mandate of Palestine. Meanwhile, while the Allies and the Axis were fighting for the oil-rich region, the Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husayni staged a pro-NAZI coup in Iraq and organized the Farhud pogrom against the Jews. The coup failed and the mufti fled to Berlin, where he actively supported Hitler. In Egypt, with a Jewish population of about 75,000, Anwar Sadat was imprisoned for conspiring with the Nazis.

    It is as plain as a pikestaff that the hostility towards the Jewish People down the ages has found a variety of so-called justifications and expressions of which Arab anxiety towards the physical location of Israel is but the most recent manifestation. It is high time that we recognise much of the anti-Israel rhetoric for the poisonous bile that it is and acknowledge the longstanding hatred from which it stems.

    That the Israelis should trust Hamas et al is as ludicrous as suggesting that perhaps they might have trusted Hitler. Of course some people deny that the Holocaust never happened. And most of them swallow that anti-Israel rhetoric all too easily.

    In my more youthful past I knew one or two such people. The BNP in particular (of which I was not a member but of which I was nevertheless well aware) was literally a wash with it. I never had a bar of it back then and rejected it. But I did see, firsthand, how such hatred takes hold in people’s minds. It starts with “a bit of racism”, a few choice insults, the odd-name calling. Perhaps a bit of anti-Israel rhetoric thrown in by the more articulate for good measure. And before you know it you have a political movement totally based on hatred and conspiracy.

    Can the Jewish people really count on anyone other than themselves when history is littered with examples of where such trust has been woefully misplaced? From my own experiences and insight I contend that for the most part they cannot. The Jewish people can only look to themselves, their own nation, their own identity and their own homeland, Israel, for security. I hope that they never lose sight of these trueisms, for if the nation of Israel ever does, then there may be precious few willing, or able, to help them.

  9. axel (1214 comments) says:


    Well, Israel has to rely on a huge american subsidy to exist, they frequently rely on is it the 5th fleet in the Eastern Med that controls the area?

    It is a cold war relic, that needs to evolve with the times or maybe the world needs this spark spitting tinde box in the powder room?

  10. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    I think the important thing was that Hamas appear to accept that it will be for the Palestinian people to vote on their future in a referendum – something which I am sure would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state and therefore would be of benefit to both Israelis and Palestinians.

    Had Carter been backed by the US govt then there’s no doubt that there would have been a chance to establish talks between Hamas, Fatah and the Israeli government.

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