Monday, November 5, 2007

This is no basis for talks

The unrealistic terms being imposed upon Hamas are much harsher than those the IRA faced

Azzam Tamimi
The Guardian

"David Trimble cannot be accused of lacking knowledge of what the Irish problem was about; he had been part of the problem as well as the solution. However, his lack of expertise on the Palestinian problem - which he admitted on the BBC's Newsnight recently - surely renders him ill qualified to insist, as he did on these pages recently, that Hamas should be excluded from any talks until it first complies with the conditions of the Quartet (the US, Russia, EU and UN): recognition of Israel, repudiation of violence and recognition of past agreements between Israel and the PLO......

Trimble and his Israeli friends need to learn that you cannot make peace by forcing people to relinquish their basic rights and legitimate aspirations. You cannot make peace by denying people their essential needs, by threatening to cut supplies of power, fuel and water. Hamas has gained the trust of the Palestinians principally because it refuses to extinguish the hope that one day Zionist colonisation of Palestine will be no more. Here, at least, is one parallel: the IRA too never agreed to give up the dream that one day Northern Ireland will be reunited with the republic.

Dreams notwithstanding, peace may still be achieved by talking about how to coexist. The siege, the sanctions and the collective punishment only encourage a backlash, perhaps even a third intifada. The Palestinians have been left with little else to lose."

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