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Moderate Approach to Hamas is Possible
Proposals of economical sanctions, power cut, laying a siege, denying Palestinian labors the access to Israel, and other forms of punishment are abominable in terms of their content and style. However, Israel is obliged to press the incoming Hamas-led government to accept the two-state solution, which implies recognition of Israel, and to admit prior agreements, Oslo in particular. These condition
Wednesday, February 22,2006 00:00
by Danny Rubenstein, an expert in the Palestinian affaires
Proposals of economical sanctions, power cut, laying a siege, denying Palestinian labors the access to Israel, and other forms of punishment are abominable in terms of their content and style. However, Israel is obliged to press the incoming Hamas-led government to accept the two-state solution, which implies recognition of Israel, and to admit prior agreements, Oslo in particular. These conditions are too explicit to be further explained. Israel has regional and international partners, with which it can coordinate stances, in connection with these requests.
 
Upon Hamas success a month ago, two possible approaches come to surface. The moderate perspective represented by the Egyptian President Hosny Mubark who suggested, in an interview with the Israeli TV, giving Hamas a chance to adjust itself to power. Giving an example, Mubark said Egypt has requested to throw Israel in the sea. ’Now, where are you? In the sea!’ he wondered.  
 
The second tendency is strict and represented by the Israeli Defense Minister Shaol Mofaz and others who push for imposing severe and immediate economical sanctions on the Palestinian Authority. Such procedures may harm the PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas and may cause the PA to collapse. In this respect, Israeli security officials cited Abbas’ inaugurating address to the Palestinian Legislative Council as supporting evidence. For them, the speech was of a weak leader who complies with Hamas albeit the address was stern to which Hamas responded furiously.
 
More surprisingly is the similar division between Palestinian grassroots and officials as regard Hamas. Adopting a moderate attitude to Hamas gains a popular support. On the other hand, Abbas along with some officials of Fatah Party seem to approve a stiffer policy toward Hamas because they have no other choice. Abbas is the architect of Oslo Agreement, Muhammad Dahlan and Gabriel el-Ragob worked to put it into place; therefore, they can not deny their past all of a sudden.
 
On this background, Israel can not make any kind of concessions to Hamas whereas they will be regarded betrayal to Abbas. it is not accidental when Abbas mentioned, in his address, the decision of the Palestinian National Council, 18 years ago, hereby the UN resolutions have been approved, including the two-state solution which implied recognition of Israel. If Hamas does not currently accept this, it should be boycotted, politically not economically. Making any concessions to Hamas-led government will illustrate Abbas and his party, for Arabs and Palestinians, a group of defeated officials who have given up the interests of their people in return for no genuine price
 
Hamas justified their refusing attitude to recognize Israel saying it violates the Islamic principles. With the due respect for religion, this excuse should not be influential.
 
Islamic jurisprudential opinions vary and widen when further questions appear. In Islam, while there are fundamental principles there are pragmatic ones as well. If Hamas officials have reached a formula of long truce with Israel, they may come to a conclusion of a temporarily long-term recognition of Israel. In fact, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is political not religious. Over the past and in the present, Jews and Israel have had good connections with Muslims and Islamic states, including hard-line Palestinians. On condition of mutual recognition, a settlement of the conflict can be attained.    

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