From our Bridge For Sale Department: Hamas, after insisting that it would not change or moderate one bit, is now suddenly, and for the first time in its history, singing a different tune. I would suggest that taking them at their word might be foolhardy at best, but I expect Western pols will be falling over themselves in their rush to do so. “Hamas plans for peace in stages,” from The Australian, with thanks to JE:
HAMAS is prepared to establish a gradual peace with Israel under certain conditions, Palestinian prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh said in an interview yesterday.
Attempting to project a moderate image for the Islamic organisation, whose principal declared goal up until now has been the destruction of the Jewish state, the Hamas official told The Washington Post that Hamas did not harbour animosity towards Jews and did not wish to throw them into the sea.
“If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages,” he said, beginning with a long-term truce.
He declined, however, to commit himself when asked if Hamas would recognise Israel’s right to exist, a commitment implying permanent peace rather than a period of truce followed by war.
“The answer,” he said, “is to let Israel say it will recognise a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release prisoners and recognise the rights of the refugees to return to Israel….”
The 1967 borders, of course, provide little or no military security. I crossed the Sea of Galilee on a boat in November and ate lunch at a restaurant in an area that used to be fired on regularly by Syrian troops in the Golan Heights. To retreat to those borders in the context of a truce offered by Hamas, particularly given the fact that Islamic law only allows for a truce in order to give the Muslims the chance to gather strength to fight again more effectively, would be the prelude to the total destruction of Israel.