click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

The Hamas 'Peace' Gambit

The Hamas 'Peace' Gambit

The peace of the grave.


Friday, May 8, 2009

"Apart from the time restriction (a truce that lapses after 10 years) and the refusal to accept Israel's existence, Mr. Meshal's terms approximate the Arab League peace plan . . ." -- Hamas peace plan, as explained by the New York Times

"Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" -- Tom Lehrer, satirist

The Times conducted a five-hour interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal at his Damascus headquarters. Mirabile dictum, they're offering a peace plan with a two-state solution. Except. The offer is not a peace but a truce that expires after 10 years. Meaning that after Israel has fatally weakened itself by settling millions of hostile Arab refugees in its midst, and after a decade of Hamas arming itself within a Palestinian state that narrows Israel to eight miles wide -- Hamas restarts the war against a country it remains pledged to eradicate.

There is a phrase for such a peace: the peace of the grave.

Westerners may be stupid, but Hamas is not. It sees the new American administration making overtures to Iran and Syria. It sees Europe, led by Britain, beginning to accept Hezbollah. It sees itself as next in line. And it knows what to do. Yasser Arafat wrote the playbook.

With the 1993 Oslo accords, he showed what can be achieved with a fake peace treaty with Israel -- universal diplomatic recognition, billions of dollars of aid, and control of Gaza and the West Bank, which Arafat turned into an armed camp. In return for a signature, he created in the Palestinian territories the capacity to carry on the war against Israel that the Arab states had begun in 1948 but had given up after the bloody hell of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Meshal sees the opportunity. Not only is the Obama administration reaching out to its erstwhile enemies in the region, but it begins its term by wagging an angry finger at Israel over the Netanyahu government's ostensible refusal to accept a two-state solution.

Of all the phony fights to pick with Israel. No Israeli government would turn down a two-state solution in which the Palestinians accepted territorial compromise and genuine peace with a Jewish state. (And any government that did would be voted out in a day.) Netanyahu's own defense minister, Ehud Barak, offered precisely such a deal in 2000. He even offered to divide Jerusalem and expel every Jew from every settlement remaining in the new Palestine.


The Palestinians have never accepted the idea of living side by side with a Jewish state.


The Palestinian response (for those who have forgotten) was: No. And no counteroffer. Instead, nine weeks later, Arafat unleashed a savage terror war that killed 1,000 Israelis.

Netanyahu is reluctant to agree to a Palestinian state before he knows what kind of state it will be. That elementary prudence should be shared by anyone who's been sentient the last three years. The Palestinians already have a state, an independent territory with not an Israeli settler or soldier living on it. It's called Gaza. And what is it? A terror base, Islamist in nature, Iranian-allied, militant and aggressive, that has fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli civilians.

If this is what a West Bank state is going to be, it would be madness for Israel or America or Jordan or Egypt or any other moderate Arab country to accept such a two-state solution. Which is why Netanyahu insists that the Palestinian Authority first build institutions -- social, economic and military -- to anchor a state that could actually carry out its responsibilities to keep the peace.

Apart from being reasonable, Netanyahu's two-state skepticism is beside the point. His predecessor, Ehud Olmert, worshiped at the shrine of a two-state solution. He made endless offers of a two-state peace to the Palestinian Authority -- and got nowhere.

Why? Because the Palestinians -- going back to the U.N. partition resolution of 1947 -- have never accepted the idea of living side by side with a Jewish state. Those like Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who might want to entertain such a solution, have no authority to do it. And those like Hamas's Meshal, who have authority, have no intention of ever doing it.

Meshal's gambit to dress up perpetual war as a two-state peace is yet another iteration of the Palestinian rejectionist tragedy. In its previous incarnation, Arafat lulled Israel and the Clinton administration with talk of peace while he methodically prepared his people for war.

Arafat waited seven years to tear up his phony peace. Meshal's innovation? Ten -- then blood.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Post.


May 9, 2009

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 16

(16) Anonymous, February 13, 2011 4:27 PM

I do 100% agree with xhat is written here above. Abbas fears for his life and does not want to live aside with Israel, but all those palestinians want live at Israel's place and as they used to say they will throw the jews into the sea. Those are only murderers. They do not know nothing of nothing.

(15) C D Goldberg, February 7, 2011 6:16 AM

Agreement with no. (7)

When the Jews were given back their land under the Balfour Declaration, which was a mandated teretory under the League of Nations, to be admistered by the UK, with ever growing resentment by the local Arabs, a good chunk of that land was given over to the Arabs as Transjordan. I fully agree with Eddie Zilber, however both Jews and Gentles have conveniently forgotten that fact and will to make Jordan that Palestinian State. The Jews must know their history and stand up for the truth, and challenge the media more aggressively.

(14) Anonymous, May 17, 2009 3:45 AM

Dear Mr Charles Krauthammer, Your article really bring back what I am all the while calling 'that any two state solution is no solution. Your comparison to the present PA state as at what the PA has in GAZA is an outstanding realism of what the "new state" will be - infact the bigger state that will be 'carve out' will be a bigger head ache for all including ISRAEL as it will be a bigger place for attacks and rocket attacks against Israel. And Like you said it is worse and still no peace. So why with such a certainty - the US, UN, the Russian, the Arab nations and the EU plus the GREEDY Vatican wants that two state solution to happen and lead to peace. LOOK this two state plan will not work and like what YOU have compared to this GAZA - it is just another "GRAB Exercise for the TERRORIST MUSLIMS and no peace for Israel. Mr Charles Krauthammer, you have to push every one to see this GAZA - it is an example of what the PA/Israel will be like more fighting but this time round Israel will be in a 'pincer' grip with the Arabs in greater advantages when it comes to war or another peace initiative. Your is a great example and well researched article. Regards,

(13) Anonymous, May 13, 2009 11:06 PM

ever at your heel

it must first be decide the right course,then stay that course, being prepared to fight for it.

(12) Anonymous, May 13, 2009 8:57 PM

Moral relevance

Europe, once again shows its moral, emptiness. "Hezbollah", as partner for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish Peoples, is risky at most, and will result in a "European Pan-Islamicism" of the Fundamentalist sort, Europeans have yet to experience. As the "Continent of Sublime Fools", it will eventually, once again, depend on North America, to "help it out." I sincerely hoped that the British people would have chosen to retain their unbelievable History, contributions, and the all-important outlines of the "Magna Carta", as their National/Global guide, and unparalleled contribution to the evolution of all peoples to a more harmonious world. It is regrettable, that the "elite" have chosen the "anti-Semitic," values of those pundits who are playing at self-importance, cultural machinations, pseudo-modernism, academic dishonesty, and transmitting their own personal values of hatred against all things Jewish, because they are in a position to do so. Sharia Law, does not befit, such a nation, it is odious, to England's vast compendium of individuals leading the charge against despotic would-be regimes, oppression, intellectual liberty, oppression of women, poorhouses, enslavement of children, the right to self-governance, and much much more. May Great Britain never abdicate its' heritage, and relevance, in order to become a not so secret proxy of States who would see IsraeL, and Jews, both in the UK, and world-wide, harmed.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment