Sunday, July 26, 2009


The foreign affairs committee of the British parliament has concluded that failure to talk with Hamas is achieving nothing in the pursuit of a stable peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

An article from the Press Association in today's The Guardian writes that the committee concludes that Hamas must be included in future talks and negotiations.

"The government refuses to talk to Hamas until it accepts the principles of the international Quartet - the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia - of non-violence and acceptance of the existence of the state of Israel.

""There continues to be few signs that the current policy of non-engagement is achieving the Quartet's stated objectives," the committee said.

""We further conclude that the credible peace process for which the Quartet hopes, as part of its strategy for undercutting Hamas, is likely to be difficult to achieve without greater co-operation from Hamas itself. We are concerned that the Quartet is continuing to fail to provide Hamas with greater incentives to change its position.""

The Bush policy of refusing to talk with Hamas leaders because Hamas was a "terrorist organization" makes no sense. The Palestinians in Gaza in 2006 democratically elected Hamas to represent them. Notwithstanding Bush's stated goal of bringing democracy to the nations of the world, he and Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney refused to open a dialog with Hamas until it "recognized" Israel, in retrospect a silly and foolish conditioning of peace negotiations on mere words, an excellent example of form over substance.

The conclusion of the MP's foreign affairs committee is long overdue and represents realism over stubbornness. Now we need Barack Obama to come out and announce the same opinion.

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