Israel and the Impossible Peace with Hamas

For the first time since 1991, air raid sirens blared in the city of Tel Aviv this week, as Hamas' militants rained hundreds of rockets upon the Israeli civilian population from Gaza.  Israel immediately responded with airstrikes against Hamas' command centers and rocket launching sites.

Once again, a council of Western elite and media personalities held a global discussion to decide how they think Israel should deal with the threat Hamas poses.

"We must have a ceasefire and diplomacy!" said many.  "Recognizing Hamas' legitimacy is the first step on the path to peace!" said others.  The phrase "two-state solution" was liberally peppered in each of these suggestions, as it often is, as a means of signifying a certain neutrality and soundness in judgment.

These generic proposals always sound nice.  But a reasonable observer might be inclined to question the impractical nature of the requests, particularly in regard to Hamas, and understand why Israel would do better to ignore them.

Hamas doesn't mince words when expressing its intention for the Jews in Israel.  As I have noted before, the Hamas Covenant of 1988 plainly outlines the organization's divine goal of eradicating the Jews in Israel and returning the land to its rightful place as an Islamic state, because only then "people and things will revert to their true place." 

They entertain no outcome where the "two-state solution" involving Israel exists, because in their eyes, the land of Palestine (which they believe Israel occupies) "has been an Islamic Waqf [inalienable religious endowment] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection," so "no one can renounce it or part of it."  Their motive is deeply religious, believing that "all lands conquered by Islam by force" are "made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection."  [Emphasis added] (Read: The land is clearly not for Jews)

Hamas does not seek the liberation of Gaza alone, and they will not accept a longstanding peace with Israel under any circumstances.  "Peace" can only come with rectifying the perceived injustice of Israel's possession of Muslim land, and only when it returns to a state of nonexistence will Hamas cease targeting its people.  The Hamas Covenant states as much to be its eternal quest, and they have neither renounced the document nor amended it to include a "two-state solution" alongside Israel as an acceptable outcome. 

And yet a council, made up of delegates from nations that are largely unthreatened by this murderous and uncompromising menace, has the audacity to suggest that Israel barter for a peaceful coexistence with Hamas?

I do not claim to have a precise answer to Israel's problem with Hamas.  But I do know, as any rational person should, that the prospect of negotiating a longstanding peace between Israel and Hamas is impossible without the prerequisite of Israel's demise.  Such is the lopsided nature of negotiation with terrorists.

Yet at this point, and hopefully not to its detriment, Israel has agreed to a fragile ceasefire with Hamas.  Even as Hamas blessed the bus bombing in Tel Aviv on the day of the ceasefire and prayed for Allah's "offering" of Israeli corpses.  Even as Hamas officials called for more rocket attacks as negotiations for the truce came to a close.  Even as rockets left Gaza seeking Israeli targets long after the truce bells had rung.  Even as Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshaal told Christianne Amanpour, in discussing a possible peace, that he can never accept Israel's existence.  And even as Meshaal thanked Iran for their role in "arming" Hamas' Islamist terrorists, Israel embraced the world's call to strive for the impossible "peace."

Israel is just doing what Israel has always done.  It retaliated against intolerable and indiscriminate Arab aggression, and is now outwardly seeking peace in spite of the eternal hatred enshrined in its enemy's ideology.  But as Middle Eastern powers seem perpetually consolidated against Israel (and today is no exception), this response is extremely dangerous.

A rush to diplomacy will not quell Israel's enemies' bloodlust.  It will only embolden them, as we have seen in the Palestinian "victory celebrations" in the wake of the ceasefire.  And Israel will not be safer if diplomacy was sought before Hamas' weapons, and the channels by which they receive them, were not thoroughly decimated beforehand.  Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton discussed this risk before the ceasefire was bartered, telling World Net Daily:

If Israel does stop its response before it eliminates those missiles and arrives at some kind of mechanism to keep replacements from coming into the Gaza Strip, we're either going to see this past week repeated or Israel will face a real threat from Iran (through Hamas) being able to target Israel from its own backyard.

These are very real strategic threats, and not to be taken lightly.  But the future diplomatic implications of the ceasefire may be even more dangerous in the long-term. 

By agreeing to a truce that the people of Gaza seem far less interested in upholding and by indirectly negotiating peace terms with Gaza's ruling regime, Israel may have granted the terrorists of Hamas a semblance of legitimacy on the world stage.  It has also certainly elevated the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt into a more powerful diplomatic position in the Middle East, as former and longstanding Brotherhood leader and Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has emerged as a key figure in brokering this "peace," even after broadly condemning Israeli "aggression" and defending Hamas.  And the revelation that the Muslim Brotherhood is now able to make diplomatic power plays in the Middle East is yet another dire prospect for the Jews in Israel. 

But the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt is another story.  The narrative is just frighteningly similar to that of Hamas and Gaza.

William Sullivan blogs at: and can be followed on Twitter.