Saturday, March 17, 2007

Israel Should Negotiate With Palestinians

The Palestinian people finally have a new government. It is a government made up of a cross-section of Palestinian political parties, including rival parties Fatah and Hamas. It has broad support among Palestinians and probably comes closer to representing all Palestinians than any of their previous efforts.

Even more encouraging is the fact that this is a government that is willing to negotiate for an end to the violence and a Palestinian homeland made up of lands seized by Isreal in 1967. By negotiating for a homeland made up of these lands, they are implicitly recognizing Israel's right to exist.

One would think this is a positive step in the right direction, but Israel is saying they will not negotiate with this government. The Israelis, along with the United States and Great Britain, still want to pick and choose which Palestinians they are willing to negotiate with.

Israel says it won't talk with this government until they explicitly recognize Israel and renounce the use of violence (even though Israel has itself been quick to use violence to get what it wants). This is like telling your enemy that if you give up and do what we want, then we'll talk to you. That's not negotiating - that's a demand for surrender, and it will not happen.

You cannot choose only to negotiate with people that you like. That will result in a settlement only with those people, and your enemies will continue to cause trouble. A real negotiation must include representatives of all the Palestinian factions, and that is what this new government offers. Anything else is doomed to failure.

Israel would like Palestinians to recognize their right to exist and stop the violent terrorist actions. Palestinians would like a homeland of their own and for Israel to stop the violent military actions. These are the things that must be negotiated - not the preconditions to negotiations.

There will never be peace in the Middle East until these things are negotiated and settled. The Palestinians have a unity government willing to talk. It is time for Israel to set aside its demands and signal its willingness to talk.


  1. You don't think it's fair that as a precursor to negotiation, you ask that those you'd negotiate with recognize that you have the right to exist? Come on.

  2. I think it is better to negotiate a peaceful solution that includes the right of both states to exist, than to keep throwing up preconditions that continue the killing.


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