How has the Hamas takeover of Gaza affected the chances for a Palestinian State?
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Israel left Gaza in the summer of 2005 in order to create an opportunity for peace. It removed its armed forces,
dismantled civilian settlements, yet left greenhouses for the Palestinian farmers in the hope this could be the
beginning of a peaceful Palestinian state. But, instead of a flourishing peace, Israel received a hostile territory on
its border: Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza are the targets of almost daily Qassam rocket attacks, terror attacks are
frequently attempted and the terrorist infrastructure is growing at an alarming pace.
Despite this ongoing Hamas terrorism, Israel will maintain an ongoing dialogue with Palestinian moderates, in order to send the message to the Palestinians that if the moderates are the representatives of their national aspirations, they can achieve a state of their own.
Israel's guiding principle is that of differentiating between the moderates and the extremists, between those who are willing and ready to advance the peace process and those whose ideology is based on extremism and religious fanaticism and who treat even their own people with the utmost brutality. Israel hopes that the former will prevail, yet ultimately, the choice must be made by the Palestinians themselves.
While Hamas terrorists continue to target Israelis, they have also brought tragedy to Palestinians. As events in Gaza have shown, while the terrorists may claim to be advancing Palestinian rights, they have succeeded only in undermining them.
It is self-evident that the future Palestinian state cannot be a terrorist state. For this reason, the international
community has insisted that the path to Palestinian statehood goes through acceptance of the Quartet principles,
including the renunciation of terrorism, the implementation of the Roadmap obligations and recognition of Israel's right
to exist. These are the foundational principles for lasting peace.
The role of the Arab world in this context is critical. In the past, the involvement of constructive regional actors
in assisting the process of Israeli-Palestinian peace-making was lacking. The recent landmark Arab League peace
initiative presents just such an opportunity for positive regional engagement.
Nevertheless, there should be no illusions. The enemies of coexistence, led by Iran and its sponsorship of Hizbullah
and Hamas, are trying to do all in their power to sabotage any prospect for peace. The Teheran regime, in its declared
intention to “wipe Israel off the map,” has perverted Islam into a totalitarian political manifesto merely masquerading
as a religion. It is determined to perpetuate a resolvable conflict into a future of despair. Syria, as well, is
undermining Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, through its support of terrorist groups such as Hamas and the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose operational headquarters are located in Damascus.
There is no insurmountable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Rather, there is a common denominator in the
desire for peace, supported by all moderate states in the region that understand that the real threat to peace comes
from the extremist states that support terrorism.
There are moderates in the Palestinian Authority who could be Israel’s partners for peace, who believe a future
Palestinian state should be based on democracy and understanding - as opposed to the extremists, whose basic
totalitarian idea is to deprive others of their rights.
While Israel will continue to defend its population against Hamas terrorism, it is ultimately the role of the moderates among the Palestinians to confront Hamas.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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