I can’t put it any better than Haaretz’s editorial did today:
[I]nstead of encouraging Hamas’s new direction, expressing the hope that it will turn into a legitimate political party and supporting the establishment of a Palestinian unity government, Israel offered its routine response – silence and apathy toward the declarations and a threat of a military operation.
Nobody in Israel pays attention to the Palestinians anymore. We’re all pre-occupied with domestic outrages, but the atrocities in Syria have Hamas looking for a new base of operations, and this seems to be having a moderating effect on the organization. Khaled Meshal sounds ready for a unity government with Fatah, and to that end he’s come out in favor of “popular resistance” over terrorism, and says he will support the establishment of a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders alone.
I don’t know how significant a sign this is, but it’s definitely a good sign, and certainly not a bad or a meaningless one, either. It indicates that Hamas is moving in Abbas’ direction instead of the other way around – which is a big, happy surprise after the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap, which was Hamas’s triumph and Abbas’ (deliberate) humiliation.
I don’t believe Israel should negotiate with Hamas as a matter of principle, but nor do I think we should refuse as a matter of principle. If Hamas seems ready to make a deal, we should talk to them; if Hamas doesn’t seem ready, we shouldn’t. What’s happening now is a sign that Hamas may be getting ready, or at least that it will not stand in Abbas’ way. This, in my opinion, is good for the Jews, not to mention the Palestinians.
Unfortunately, the people who run this country think otherwise. Army chief Benny Gantz just gave an interview marking the third anniversary of the war in Gaza, saying it was an “excellent operation” and that “Israel will have no choice except another broad operation in Gaza.”
Excellent – just really, really outstanding. The Palestinians talk peace, we talk war. Happy New Year to you, too, Benny.
I don’t know. Hope springs eternal; maybe if Obama wins the election, which is only 10 months away, he’ll sprout a pair and lay down the law to Bibi. It’s highly unlikely, but I can’t think of anything else to hope for. Outside of that, all we’ve got to look forward to is an explosion.