Thursday, January 22, 2009

'Time to start talking to Hamas'

Gideon Levy, Haaretz: This goes beyond the profound moral failure... We have gained nothing in this war save hundreds of graves, some of them very small, thousands of maimed people, much destruction and the besmirching of Israel's image... The conclusion is that Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council while not giving a hoot about international law.

Mousa Abu Marzook, in The Guardian: What did it achieve? The killing of large numbers of civilians, children and women, and the destruction of homes, ministry buildings and other infrastructure with the most advanced US weapons and other internationally banned chemical and phosphorus elements. Almost 2,000 children were killed and injured in desperate pursuit of political goals. Many international organisations called these attacks war crimes, yet barely a word of denunciation was uttered by any western leader... Palestinians can never be broken by either starvation, economic strangulation or brutal attack. European leaders have only one option: to recognise the outcome of a democratic process they had called for and supported.

David Grossman, Haaretz: When the guns become completely silent, and the full scope of the killing and destruction becomes known, to the point where even the most self-righteous and sophisticated of the Israeli psyche's defense mechanisms are overcome, perhaps then some kind of lesson will imprint itself on our brain. Perhaps then we will finally understand how deeply and fundamentally wrong our actions in this region have been from time immemorial -- how misguided, unethical, unwise and above all, irresponsible, time after time... 

We must speak to the Palestinians... Reality is not just the story we are locked into, a story made up, in no small measure, of fantasies, wishful thinking and nightmares. We must speak, because what has happened in the Gaza Strip over the last few weeks sets up a mirror in which we in Israel see the reflection of our own face -- a face that, if we were looking in from the outside or saw it on another people -- would leave us aghast. We would see that our victory is not a genuine victory, and that the war in Gaza has not healed the spot that so badly needs a cure, but only further exposed the tragic and never-ending mistakes we have made in navigating our way.

BBC: The political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, says that the time has come for the West to lift its boycott on his Palestinian Islamist movement. In a speech aired on Arab satellite TV, the exiled chief said it was 'time to start talking to Hamas.'... 'I tell European nations... three years of trying to eliminate Hamas is enough.'
Image: Mahmoud AbuKhaled