Once again, a Middle East peace plan appears to be unraveling. Needless to say it would be a shame to have this happen. Again.
The recent terror attacks should not cause the peace talks to stop. On the other hand, Israel should be allowed to stop Hamas and other groups from carrying out such attacks.
But if Hamas will not agree to a ceasefire, it forces Israel’s hand to react and to prevent such attacks. There are continuing talks between the Palestinian Authority and those extremist groups that have been carrying out bombings in the last few days. If nothing comes of this and the Palestinian Authority is incapable of holding the groups in check, Israel is the only authority left that can, and should, stop them.
But if Israel responds to attacks carried out by extremist groups, the peace process should not be stopped because of it. These groups are obviously acting outside the law.
Israel has to make some good faith efforts and concessions, such as pulling back from Gaza and other areas. If Hamas and their ilk are unwilling to make the same effort, they need to be dealt with.
It makes sense that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and similar organizations, would want to derail the peace process. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to stop fighting, there would be no need for groups like Hamas. Derailing the peace process could be a simple play at self-preservation. It’s scary to think that groups like this, un-elected and not representational of anyone but itself, can keep a region in chaos as long as it wants. These groups are not benefiting the average Palestinian. Hamas and the other extremist groups need to realize that, no matter what they do, they will not force Jews from the region (nor will the Israelis get rid of Palestinians completely). That is not an attainable goal. The belief that this is possible does nothing but perpetuate the violence in the region.
The recent attacks carried out by Hamas will not benefit anyone. They are being pressured by the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and America to stop these attacks. In addition, Israel is more capable of inflicting damage on the militants than the militants are on Israel. It would be nice if both sides could get over their mutual hatred and realize that neither group is going anywhere.
I wonder if Israel were to suspend attacks on specific militants, if Palestinians would cease attacks. If both sides agreed to stop for a week, it might accomplish something — possibly show some kind of good faith and give both sides a point to build from. I can’t say I see that happening, though. It is a bad sign when the Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, is saying, “Calling on Hamas and other Palestinian groups to cease fire and end resistance is a call in the wrong direction.” I disagree. Resist all you want, but killing is unnecessary. Another bad sign is that, according to Fox News, Rantissi is only considering a stop to attacks on civilians and limiting the group to attacks on military targets.
I would like to see a lasting peace in the Middle East. If the two sides can finally agree to something that makes them both happy, that’s great. But groups of extremists should not get to veto the process with bombs.
Chris Ricketts is a is a senior majoring in English. firstname.lastname@example.org