Writing in today’s NY Times (subscription required), Scott Atran, a research scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, says that Israel and the U.S. should deal with Hamas.
Although Hamas is sworn to the destruction of Israel, Atran writes:
Hamas’s top elected official, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, now accepts that to stop his people’s suffering, his government must forsake its all-or-nothing call for Israel’s destruction. “We have no problem with a sovereign Palestinian state over all our lands within the 1967 borders, living in calm,” Mr. Haniya told me in his Gaza City office in late June, shortly before an Israeli missile destroyed it. “But we need the West as a partner to help us through.”
First, a return to the 1967 borders would include Israel giving up Jerusalem, which is a complete non-starter and Haniya knows it. Second, Haniya has already said publically that he would accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, but only as a staging area for the eventual destruction of Israel. Leading up to the January Palestinian elections, Haniya was quoted by the AFP:
“Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in the territories occupied [by Israel] in 1967 – as an interim solution. However, Hamas will continue to maintain its views regarding the boundaries of historical Palestine, and [in terms of] refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation.”
Clearly, Haniya hasn’t changed his tune, just his tactics. But another Hamas official was a little more honest:
“Israel freeing some of our prisoners will help us to stop others from attacking it,” said the Hamas government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad. “But Israel must apologize for our tragedy in 1948 [i.e. the establishment of Israel] before we can talk about negotiating over our right of return to historic Palestine [i.e. all of Israel].”
Always count on the NY Times to legitimize evil.