Gaza flotilla: Why the blockade makes sense for Israel
Until Hamas accepts Israel’s right to exist and stops launching rocket attacks, Israel may have to continue the Gaza blockade.
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While there is probably an argument to be made that the terms of the blockade should be adjusted at least somewhat to minimize social pain and cope with the reality of the tunnels, this should not be confused with normalizing the role of Hamas itself.Skip to next paragraph
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The Obama administration has reiterated criteria that the United States, United Nations, EU, and Russia established as a prerequisite for Hamas to play a constructive role: disavow violence, accept Israel, and adhere to previous agreements.
President Obama had made clear that the onus is on Hamas to change its ways before it becomes a legitimate peace partner. It has accepted the logic that an unreconstructed Hamas will spoil peace talks more from the inside rather than the outside, as Obama pursues a policy of seeking success in George Mitchell’s West Bank proximity talks.
There is a reason for this view. Hamas has made clear that its condition for joining a united Palestinian government is abandoning peace talks with Israel and agreeing at best to some form of a cease-fire in return for many concessions that they know Israel cannot accept.
Like the Gaza flotilla, solving the issue of Gaza and Hamas does not look like smooth sailing.
David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs its project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also the coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of “Myths, Illusions & Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East,” now in paperback with a new afterword.
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