Hagel is right, Israel must negotiate with Hamas — Slater

on 10 Comments

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn say that one of Chuck Hagel’s crimes is his urging Israel to negotiate with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist political party which controls Gaza and which the U.S. terms a terrorist organization. Jerome Slater has been the leading American scholar on the issue of the rights of Gazans under occupation, and the rights of Israel to self-defense. He has an article, “Israel’s self-defense argument against Hamas holds no water” up at the Christian Science Monitor, in which he says Israel has a legal obligation to talk to Hamas. Here is its conclusion:

Gaza is not a separate country or people from the West Bank, and the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo agreement specifically states that Gaza and the West Bank are “a single territorial unit.” Consequently, the Gazan people retain their right of resistance to occupation and repression.

To believe otherwise is like believing that, if the British had withdrawn from New Jersey in the 1770s but continued to occupy the other 12 colonies, New Jersey residents would no longer have had the right to take up arms to support American independence.

To be sure, the right of resistance does not include the right to employ terrorism. At the same time, it is certainly relevant that the Palestinians have no hope of gaining their freedom by defeating the Israeli armed forces. Nor is nonviolent protest and resistance likely to succeed, for Israel has either repeatedly ignored it or suppressed it, often meeting demonstraters (including Israelis) with beatings, rubber bullets, and sometimes real bullets.

The final flaw in the Israeli self-defense argument is that Western morality proscribes the use of force unless all nonviolent means of conflict settlement have been exhausted.

Israel, however, has repeatedly refused to negotiate long-term truces with Hamas, and it has even broken past agreements. While Hamas still refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, since 2009 there has been substantial evidence that it is ready to go beyond ceasefires and join with the more moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in supporting a two-state political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although Hamas’s position has been ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, this does not justify Israel’s refusal even to negotiate with Hamas to explore the peace possibilities.

As long as the Israeli occupation, repression, and intransigence continue, Israel has no legitimate or persuasive claim that it is defending its homeland against unprovoked Palestinian attacks. To stop those attacks and make last year’s ceasefire permanent, it needs to fully lift its blockade and bring Hamas into the negotiation process.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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10 Responses

  1. Citizen
    January 8, 2013, 10:40 am

    Wouldn’t be wonderful if Slater was invited to state his POV on US TV News? Only then would this discussion on said media go beyond, e.g., “Hagel is out of the mainstream–why, he even says we… Israel, should talk to Hamas, a terrorist organization!”

  2. jimmy
    January 8, 2013, 11:25 am

    nobody is going to telll isreal what to do….

    but they can demand everyone else do something for them

    Israeli Finance Minister Pushes US to Make Specific Threats of Iran Invasion

    ‘Impatient’ Israel Wants US to Set a Date for War
    by Jason Ditz, January 07, 2013

    Visiting the US today for two days of meetings, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz is pushing for the Obama Administration to move beyond simply imposing round after round of new sanctions on Iran and get toward “credible threats” to invade Iran at a specific date.

    the belligerence of these people is astounding

    campaign openly against obama then demand he bomb Iran for them


    • DICKERSON3870
      January 11, 2013, 6:55 am

      RE: “nobody is going to telll isreal what to do…. but they can demand everyone else do something for them” ~ jimmy (above)

      SEE: “Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness?” [Will the Chosen People and the Exceptional People Go Down Together?] ~ by John Grant, Counterpunch, 8/31/12


      “The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else.” ~ Ofer Grosbard, ‘Israel On The Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process’

      Americans have an Israel problem. . .
      . . . The problem Americans have with Israel is that
      the region it exists in is in the midst of a major political sea change, while Israel is frozen in time and holding on to its militarist, right-wing policies of extending settlements in the West Bank. It’s a policy that harks back to the ideas of the British-trained militarist Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall [SEE WIKIPEDIA – J.L.D.], which is based on the idea a live-and-let-live policy between Jews and Arabs is impossible and, thus, Jews must militarily control and repress Palestinians . . .
      . . . How does a people turn back a racially-oriented demonization program with roots that extend back many decades? How do you ratchet down a nation’s narcissism so people are able to simply see the other as a human being? . . .
      . . . On our part, Americans and the United States need to stop being a permissive yes-man [i.e. a habitual “enabler” ~ J.L.D.] and begin to show Israel some tough love. We need more US criticism of Israel. No doubt this approach will be received with gales of cynical laughter from hardliners . . . but so what?
      In my mind, the Israeli narcissistic and arrogant mindset would benefit from a little Buddhist detachment, more of the posture that sees the world not of separate individual selves and egos but of human beings as part of a larger flow of life. The Buddhists call the self-obsessed, separatist state-of-mind [i.e. the “pale” of Israel surrounded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall – J.L.D.] that Israel thrives on and defends with weapons as “the illusory self.”
      “Once one identifies with a permanent self-concept, the pride and craving adhering to this become the pivot from which an egocentric world arises,” writes Gay Watson, a psychotherapist attuned to Buddhism.

      David Loy puts it this way: “To become completely groundless is also to become completely grounded, not in some particular, but in the whole network of
      interdependent relations that constitute the world.”
      I’m not suggesting Israel become a Buddhist nation. The point is for Israelis, and more important Americans, to figure a way out of the worsening condition of “us versus them” to avoid the need to obliterate them and set off a war that no one really wants. The point is to re-shape our minds to make “the other” less threatening to permit talking.
      I’m not holding my breath that Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are going to become peace activists. But I’m done as an American being a silent stooge while Israeli militarist madness fuels hatred and sets the stage for war.

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/31/is-there-a-way-beyond-israeli-madness/795200

  3. pabelmont
    January 8, 2013, 11:53 am

    Hamas: “which the U.S. terms a terrorist organization.” Well, the USA does much more than merely “term” Hamas a terrorist org. It lists Hamas on the various VERY official USA lists of so-called terrorist organizations (two lists, at least, at state and treasury, I believe) which listings have extremely serious (and in the case of Hamas, pernicious) real-world consequences for Americans and others who wish to help the people of Gaza with material support.

    It should be a purpose of ours to get the USA to de-list Hamas just as various Americans (apparently offering MEK material support at the time) worked to get MEK de-listed.

  4. Kathleen
    January 8, 2013, 12:02 pm

    Phil/Annie/Alex /Chris Matthews coverage of the Hagel nomination last night (Tuesday Jan 7) is great. He had Clemons and former Senator Kerry on and then Chris closed his hour program “Let Me Finish” wish support for Hagel. They showed a statement by Senator Kerry questioning Hagel’s perfect allegiance to Israel. Pathetic how this nomination may depend on how often Hagel kneels and kissed Bibi’s ring. Absolutely pathetic. Think you will be interested in what Chris Matthews covered last night

  5. bob
    January 8, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Recall Hagel’s consistently low positon on years and years of “the Israel Factor” by Rosen. These date back to 2006

  6. Mayhem
    January 8, 2013, 5:09 pm

    It would hypocritical for the US to ask Israel to negotiate with Hamas given the position that the US holds over Cuba.

    • RoHa
      January 8, 2013, 9:20 pm

      “It would hypocritical for the US to ask Israel to negotiate with Hamas given the position that the US holds over Cuba.”

      But still a good idea both for Israel to talk to Hamas and the US to talk to Cuba.

  7. Frankie P
    January 8, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Of course Hagel, and all those who have been saying that Israel must negotiate with Hamas, is correct on this issue. Israel also knows that it must eventually negotiate with Hamas. They prefer to emphasize the word “eventually” in this sentence; more time is needed to establish “Jewish communities” in the West Bank, bargaining chips in an eventual (damn, it’s that word again) agreement. Foot dragging by Israel on any and all chances for peace or a peace (piece) process has been an ongoing tactic; it’s time that the world sat up and took notice, and action.


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