Letters to the Editor
Readers write about negotiating with Hamas, sovereign wealth funds, and the new budget's effect on environmental programs.
Hamas is to blame for diplomatic roadblocksSkip to next paragraph
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Regarding Helena Cobban's Jan. 29 Opinion piece, "No way to avoid Hamas now": This is a dangerous misappraisal of the moral, military, and political realities governing Hamas. The notion that the United States or Israel is somehow obligated to establish diplomatic ties with a violently anti-Semitic terrorist organization is absurd. Not only would such a development legitimize a movement whose current status is based primarily on hate and intimidation, and only secondarily on a genuine ability to provide basic services, but it would be useless. Hamas does not operate under any accepted principle of international authority.
The assertion that Hamas is interested in a cease-fire with Israel is undermined by the author's admission that it continues to launch rockets into that country. Her implication that it is Israel and the US that have marginalized Hamas, and that they are consequently missing an opportunity for positive political progress, fails to recognize the fact that it is Hamas's rhetoric and actions that prohibit engagement and alienate the Palestinian population under its control. Instead, Israel – which has an existential stake in this conflict – is depicted as choosing not to engage with Hamas for no particular reason whatsoever.
Regarding Helena Cobban's recent Opinion piece on Hamas: Ms. Cobban omits mention of the principal reason that the US refuses to deal with the terrorist organization – Hamas continues to declare its intention to eliminate Israel.
For Hamas to gain legitimacy in the international community, it needs to renounce its intention to destroy the Jewish state. Doing so would open the floodgates of foreign aid to Gaza, reduce and eventually eliminate Israel's oppressive border controls, and trigger unprecedented industrial development. It would also remove a major roadblock to the achievement of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Ms. Cobban also does not mention that not only the US and Israel, but also the European Union, Canada, Japan, and others have listed Hamas as a terrorist organization and have supported an embargo, while at the same time supplying Gaza with food and humanitarian aid.
An oppressed people has a moral right to use violence to end oppression if all other means have been exhausted. The difficulty is that all other means – diplomacy, negotiation, trade-offs of land for peace, verifiable security guarantees, etc., have not failed, but have never interested Hamas.
To achieve relief for beleaguered Gaza, and a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, Hamas will need to respect the right of others to coexist.