The thought of granting legitimacy to a terror organization that has no other intention except for eliminating Israel contradicts the position of the government, the Israeli public, and even the international system.
Israel has undertaken great efforts in order to convince the international community to boycott Hamas. The Jewish state works tirelessly in order to reinforce this commitment, even when occasional calls to end the siege on Gaza are made. Yet Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, who expressed his willingness to negotiate with Hamas, undermines our stubborn stance vis-à-vis the terrorists.
Imagine the mayor of Haifa, in the midst of the Lebanon war, declaring that he is willing to immediately travel to Damascus for talks with terrorist leader Nasrallah in order to end the rocket fire on his city and save lives. I find it hard to imagine any public reaction to this that would be short of immediate expulsion from Haifa.
Fortunately, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav does not only possess great wisdom, but also genuine commitment to his post. Instead of providing the government with a plethora of strategic and security tips, he dedicated his energy to boosting the spirits of city residents, preparing bomb shelters, maintaining restraint, and encouraging a firm stance under fire.
One clear thing emerges from the comparison: Moyal must not talk to Hamas. He should learn from Yahav about the issues a mayor should be dealing with. If the mayor wishes to save lives in Sderot, there are many things he could do before he volunteers to hold talks with Hamas, such as demanding to fortify town homes and boost other defense means.
I’m not known as a follower of the Greater Israel vision, and I still believe that one of these days it would be proper to grant the Palestinians political independence. Yet when it comes to standing firm against our worst enemies, I am unwilling to recognize even a trace of justification for their existence or to talk to them. In my view, a terrorist who wishes to kill us should be pursued mercilessly until he is eliminated.
Any attempt to justify talks with Hamas may also lead to justifying talks with the patron that arms them, Ahmadinejad, with Islamic Jihad, and ultimately with al-Qaeda. That would be a grave blow to the righteousness of our path and the demand to recognize our right to live safely in our own country.
I also object to Moyal’s mad proposal for reasons of supporting a future peace deal. Dividing the country and the establishment of a Palestinian state would only become possible when the Palestinians are led by a stable, peace-seeking government. As long as the Hamas organization exists, and heaven forbid if it should enjoy political recognition because of the eagerness of an Israeli mayor, such government cannot be formed among the Palestinians.
I cannot trust a peace treaty where a neighboring country is home to a murderous terror group that operates in broad daylight and may eliminate the regime (as it has done in Gaza) and fire from its independent territory at Israel’s citizens.
We must not talk with Hamas – nobody is allowed to do it, and certainly not someone who himself claims that “he was not elected to manage Israel’s security policy.”
Hamas deserves death: It is the source of regional instability, an obstacle to peace, and the true reason for the Palestinian disaster. Those who are willing to turn their back on the government and the public, which oppose any dialogue with Hamas, show that respecting the consensus of the vast majority of Israel’s citizens means nothing to them.
Iki Elner directs the Leadership Institute in Sderot