Monday, June 05, 2006

What's needed is some symmetry

How can you start negotiations with anyone by insisting on your final goal as a precondition? Seems to be the standard method for the Right-Wing.
We won't even start to talk to Iran about their nuclear program until they prove that they've dismantled it. Why would anyone play along with that? They give away the only chip they have at the start, for what? They have no incentive to negotiate.
Same thing, little different in Israel.
After 38 years of illegal occupation, the Palestinian People elected Hamas to form a government out of the Palestinian Authority. The US and Israel immediately moved to choke Palestine economically and strategically, freezing assets and disrupting aid flows, closing the border crossings and stepping up air assaults. As a precondition to talks, we are insisting that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, lay down weapons and turn over Hamas officials that Israel calls terrorists. Unilaterally. Before any negotiation begins.
To comply with those pre-conditions would be political suicide for Hamas and damn bad bargaining. Once they have given Israel everything they want, there is very little else that Hamas could negotiate for and no incentive for Israel to negotiate.
What's needed is some symmetry: If Israel wants Hamas to renounce violence and disarm, then Israel must do the same. If Israel wants a "right of return" for Jews around the world, many of whom have never been near Israel, then it must recognize the right of return for Palestinians driven from their land over the last sixty years. If Israel wants to try Hamas officials as terrorists then they must turn over the Israelis that have terrorized the Palestinians for the past sixty years, that would be most of Likud, including Sharon, Ulmert, Netanyahu, Mofaz and a host of military brass that have ordered and/or stood by and watched while Palestinians have been slaughtered from Sabra and Chatila to Ramalla and Gaza.

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