Photo: EPA
'The world is only interested in Gaza, because that's where the cameras are'
Photo: EPA
Ben-Dror Yemini

Why Israel should accept Hamas' terms

Op-ed: In order to win public opinion, Israel must adopt all of Islamic organization's conditions for ceasefire and add sections benefitting Gaza's residents – in exchange for Strip's demilitarization by an international force.

We are witnessing unnecessary and irritating bloodshed. It could have ended long ago. It can be ended, maybe, just maybe, as soon as tomorrow.


The conditions were already written almost a decade ago – the Quartet conditions. No to violence, yes to recognizing Israel and past agreements. These conditions would have obligated Hamas to work solely on the political track, and would have obligated Israel to lift the siege.



Hamas' refusal has led to two extremely violent rounds, and we are now in the midst of the third one. We are not in Syria, but the sights are becoming similar: Havoc and destruction. It happens in every place controlled by the radical Islam.


The Strip's residents were sentenced to this fate the moment they elected Hamas, in the first stage, and the moment Hamas carried out a violent takeover, in the second stage. Since then they have only been suffering.


Hamas belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has been moving back and forth between the more radical Islam, like al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS, and a slightly more moderate version, like the one controlling Tunisia.


So far, Hamas has made it clear that it's on the Taliban side. The section dealing with the annihilation of Jews in the Hamas charter, the clear and murderous anti-Semitic content of its official television station and the declarations of many Hamas leaders about "conquering Rome, London and the two Americas" clarify Hamas' place.


It's safe to assume that not everyone who voted for Hamas supports every section in its murderous ideology. But as always, what the majority thinks is not important – it's important what the jihadist faction does.


In the current conflict, Hamas turned down the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and presented its own conditions. They include lifting the siege, opening a naval port, etc, etc. They should be accepted, down to the very last one.


Not only should they be accepted, but Israel should even adopt them and add sections which will benefit the Strip's residents – as long as Hamas agrees both to demilitarize the Strip and to accept the Quartet's conditions.


There is no need for the IDF to perform a violent removal of the weapon arsenals: If the Western countries are so concerned about peace in the Middle East, they should send NATO soldiers to implement the demilitarization.


Hamas, so far, has proved that it favors the armed struggle and the violence over prosperity. The Strip's residents are paying a heavy price for that.


A generous Israeli proposal will only benefit Israel. if Hamas surprises us and accepts it, it will be a turning point. What Israel wants to achieve through the IDF will be achieved in an agreement. If Hamas rejects the offer, Israel will receive further justification to continue the operation.


Let us not delude ourselves: The difficult images from Saja'iyya, which are already flooding foreign networks, will increase the pressure on Israel. This is only the beginning.


And as always, in the first stage the protests are staged by the jihadists, the radical left and the far right. In the second stage come the articles turning Israel into a war criminal. In the third stage, the leaders join the media too. We have already been there. It will happen to us again.


When Israel embarks on a battle of this kind, it is waging a double battle: One on the ground, the other over the global public opinion. Israel should know that it will not succeed on the ground without succeeding on the public opinion front. The world is not interested in the mass murder committed by ISISI, as we speak, in Syria. Nor is it interested in the abuse of Christians in Musul. The world is only interested in Gaza, because that's where the cameras are.


So Israel must make a move: It must accept Hamas' conditions, add to them, and announce its agreement to a ceasefire, in exchange for the Strip's demilitarization by an international force.


The bank of targets remains important, but we must not, under any circumstances, give up on the bank of justifications.


פרסום ראשון: 07.23.14, 00:39
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