“Moderate” doesn’t mean they’ll recognize Israel. Nor does it mean they’ll back off on the implementation of Sharia. It just means that, in some intangible sense, they don’t come across as being as bad as the next Hamas jihadist.
Beyond that, faulty assumptions and unrealistic expectations abound. Did anyone really think not talking to Hamas for a few months would somehow lead to a massive, and fundamental change of heart on the idea of accepting Israel’s right to exist? On the other hand, does anyone really think talking to them now will change their minds? The issue is ultimately immaterial, as it does not take into account the depth and origin of Hamas’ antisemitism. But since the West has made an issue of it, entering into a dialogue with Hamas now would reward the group’s intransigence, and send a message that the Western governments are too impatient for results — anything they can possibly call “progress” — to consider the long-term costs of doing business with jihadists.
“Lawmakers urge UK government to talk to Hamas,” by Adrian Croft for Reuters, July 25:
LONDON (Reuters) — Lawmakers urged the British government on Sunday to talk to moderates within Hamas, saying the West’s policy of shunning the Palestinian Islamist group was showing little sign of success.
The British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report it stood by a recommendation it first made two years ago that the government should engage politically with moderate elements within Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Britain and other Western nations reject contact with Hamas because of its refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing interim peace deals.
Russia is the only member of the Quartet of Middle East peace brokers — which also comprises the United States, the United Nations and the European Union — talking to Hamas.
“We conclude that there continue 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 cooperation from Hamas itself.”