Hamas crucial for peace: Statesmen

2011-06-10 16:02

Jerusalem - A lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is only possible if Hamas is involved, a group of former top statesmen and diplomats said in a letter made public on Friday.

In the letter, which is addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, 24 former international figures warned against the dangers of rejecting a recent Palestinian unity deal aimed at ending years of bad blood between the secular Fatah faction and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Israel slammed the deal as a "great victory for terrorism" in a move which found echoes in Washington, with US President Barack Obama describing it as "an enormous obstacle to peace".

But the letter argued that lasting peace would only be possible with a unified Palestinian leadership, which made reconciliation "a prerequisite" for ending the conflict.

"Reconciliation is... a prerequisite for achieving the two-state solution. It is not an obstacle to it," it said, taking aim at remarks by Israel's premier Benjamin Netanyahu in which he urged Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas to choose between peace with Hamas or peace with Israel.

"Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: A lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board," it said.

Showing commitment

Under terms of the deal signed in early May, the two factions will work together to form a caretaker government of politically independent figures who will govern until elections can be held at some point before May 2012.

It was "imperative" that Washington and Brussels "constructively engage with the transitional government as well as with the Palestinian leadership that results from elections next year", they wrote, warning that failure to do so could have far-reaching consequences.

By supporting Palestinian unity, the US and the EU had an opportunity to show their commitment to the two-state solution, they wrote, saying the alternative was "hard to contemplate".

"If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, with dramatic consequences for all parties and the international community at large."

Among the signatories are four former EU prime ministers, including Italy's Massimo D'Alema and Denmark's Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, and 11 ex-foreign ministers, including Hubert Vedrine of France and Gareth Evans of Australia.

Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and veteran Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi also signed the letter.

  • GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-10 17:13

    Bunch of attention seekers trying to get their name in the media for 10 seconds of fame - Would any reasonable person want as a "partner" in peace someone who STILL wants you dead and continues to call for your destruction? Religion of peace people! Religion of peace if you one of them but death to you if ur not!

      merlinv1 - 2011-06-10 17:48

      you sir are one of the biggest attention seekers that ive found on this site in recent weeks. Just curious to know where you from? If you are South African id like to know how often a muslim person has shouted "die infidel" to you while walking in the street? Maybe the reason the Palestinian people elected hamas is because they didnt sell them out but fought for them. Israels idea of an ideal Palestinian leadership is a government that will basically shout "ja baas" everytime they say something. Im sure if Israel allowed humanitarian aid into gaza, which has on board MANY MANY NON-MUSLIMS, than maybe attacks would stop. That if Israel pulls back its forces than maybe there would be no reason to fight any more. Ive heard many Jewish South Africans say that black South Africans should stop playing the "previously disadvantaged" card. I think Jews need to do the same. yeah the holocaust was a tragedy but times have moved on. If tomorrow Malema puts every white South African out of their homes, blows up whatever little infrastructure is left, denies basic necessities to them, prevents the world from delivering humanitarian aid and has the backing of the leaders of the "free" world, than id like to hear you shout about how its all being done in self defense. Religion of peace, Islam is a religion of peace. I as a muslim cant call every christian a child molester because of the actions of a few priests, yet as a muslim im labelled a terrorist because of the actions of a few.

      aaron - 2011-06-10 17:51

      Isreal is racist state not intetested in peasce only war and destruction. it is worse than an aparthied state. it need to be destroyed like apartheid

      Valis - 2011-06-10 17:58

      Well said merlinv1. Bravo!

      Haroon - 2011-06-10 18:21

      I would under normal circumstances perhaps agree with you, but I ask that you inquire for yourself from the respective sides before passing judgement. Peace

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-11 17:53

      merlinv1 : "as a muslim cant call every christian a child molester because of the actions of a few priests" Dont even let me start about your 43 year old prophet who took 9 year aisha has his wife! For the non-muslims out there google "aisha the child bride" - not a conspiracy theory its the truth.

      merlinv1 - 2011-06-11 18:46

      you sir are like the kid in class that reads the back cover of a book and claims he knows everything. Its only in the modern era that the age of 18 is regarded as "legal". in previous times a woman was a woman as soon as she attained a child baring age and a man a man as soon as he could raise a sword. This was practice among all nations. She was married at the age of 9, however you fail to mention that the marriage was only consummated when she attained womanhood "child baring age" and that the main reason for the marriage was for her to learn as much from Muhammed (peace be upon him) from a very young age, but you wouldnt know that because you only read the back cover right? You continuously quote texts from the Quran out of context, maybe if you had to read it from cover to cover you'd realise how stupid you really are. The Quran does state that infidels should be beheaded, however there are more versus that go with it, such as that it can only be done at a time of Jihad, to a soldier of the enemy forces and not to a civilian. It does not state that we are allowed to go around killing as we please. Like you many have taken versus out of context. I dont belive that you have an open mind towards Islam, but if anyone does than i ask you to read the Quran from cover to cover and i promise you that it will change your views. What you fail to also see is that a lot of what is going on is not Jihad but instead politics.

  • Anton - 2011-06-10 17:36

    Certainly the most sensative subject in the world, to comment on. But in my opinion, both the Israelis' and the Palestenian's behavior is often unacceptable. At the same time, Both are entitled to live in peace. I believe that one day they will sit down, and than find that they have more in common that either side ever believed in. Hope this happens sooner than later.

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