In the issue of The Campus Times from Sept. 30, an article  that commented on the now-stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians noted that 1.5 million residents of Gaza  were not being represented in the talks and called for Hamas to be involved in the talks.  

By firing thousands of rockets with the intent of killing civilians (and, by the way, kidnapping an Israeli soldier and denying him access to the Red Cross), Hamas has shown the international community what its intent is.  People call these ideas hackneyed, but facts are facts.  Until this clearly changes, both in speech and in action, the participants in the peace talks should not recognize any governing body such as this one, whether it represents one person or 1.5 million of them.

The Hamas covenant of 1988 states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Both sides in the actual talks  have grievances against the other in terms of prerequisites, but nobody that has spoken up for peace has, at the same time, endorsed an ideology such as this one. Thus, Israel cannot negotiate with a governing body that seeks its destruction.  

On each side, people have various opinions on when each side should decide to talk. Recognition of Israel,  the building of settlements, border disputes and Jerusalem are issues that each side has discussed, but most can agree — as is evident by recent negotiations — that the two governing groups presently involved in the talks have at least recognized the existence of the other and have sworn not to destroy the other.

An organization does not gain credibility solely because it speaks for millions, as history has shown innumerable times.  Hamas should not be involved in the talks, and the fact that it stands for 1.5 million people does not change this.

Given that Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it is simply wrong to accuse Israel of occupying the Gaza Strip.  If Hamas were not determined to destroy the state of Israel, which it proudly admits to be its goal, there would also be no naval blockade to protect Israel from being bombarded with rockets imported via the sea.  The people of Gaza should be granted rights, liberties and representation just like any other people, but the fact is that Israel is not the force withholding such things from them. Calling for Hamas to be invited to “negotiate” will not help their cause, but rather will thwart any prospects for peace.

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