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article imageOp-Ed: Israel and the Gaza conflict – Is Hamas the obstacle to peace?

By JohnThomas Didymus     Nov 19, 2012 in World
Tel Aviv - Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, suggested in an opinion piece that Israel should, as a matter of strategic necessity, "flatten all Gaza." His argument leads to the question: Is Gilad right? Could there ever be peace with Hamas?
Digital Journal reports that Sharon, in the Op-Ed entitled, "A decisive conclusion is necessary," published in The Jerusalem Post, "argues that Israel has only two options: either entirely wipe out Gaza's infrastructure in the bid to strike a decisive blow on Hamas or re-occupy the territory."
He argued: "There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too." notes that Gilad's opinion piece, published in The Jerusalem Post, has "infuriated the political Left and Islamic right." quotes a few outraged "Leftist" responses to Gilad's views on Twitter:
Tim Wise@timjacobwise
Son Of Ariel Sharon: 'We Need To Flatten All of Gaza'.. No Gilad, We Need to Flatten You and All Who Think Like U
19 Nov 12
Why did JPost publish Gilad Sharon's horrible, racist call to kill innocent Arabs to protect "truly innocent" Jews?…—
Gilles Frydman (@gfry) November 18, 2012
18 Nov 12
Bianca Jagger@BiancaJagger
I urge you to read the shocking article by #GiladSharon published in the JerusalemPost. You maybe as revolted as I was
19 Nov 12
Given Gilad Sharon's genocidal intent, he should be immediately banned from entry into the EU #pt—
Chris Doyle (@Doylech) November 18, 2012
18 Nov 12
This Op-Ed by Gilad Sharon calling for the annihilation of Gaza shows what a vile, repulsive animal he is.…—
Nerdy Wonka (@utaustinliberal) November 19, 2012
19 Nov 12
"The son of a former Israeli PM says the country must 'flatten all of Gaza' to save Israeli lives:" Holocaust anyone??—
Thane Zander (@CricketTragic58) November 19, 2012
19 Nov 12
JPost op-ed says "flatten all of Gaza"… Positively Hitlerian! You'd think such a prominent Jewish paper wud know better!—
Mike Brunavs (@pull2open) November 19, 2012
Twitchy expresses the opinion that "Militarily, the younger Sharon’s argument makes both strategic and tactical sense. A war is won when the enemy’s ability to wage war, and it’s desire to continue the conflict, is destroyed."
The website then refers the reader to the Hamas Charter, which "refuses all peaceful solutions with the state of Israel, and demands the complete destruction of the Israeli state." Twitchy suggests that Gilad's recommendation may be justified in the light of the extremist and virulently anti-Semitic tone of the Hamas Charter. The website, provides excerpts of some of relevant sections of the Hamas Charter:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" referred to in the text has been shown to be an anti-Semitic forgery. referes to what it describes as the most ominous aspects of the charter, a quote from the Hadith:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim). comments on the implication of Hamas quoting this Hadith in its charter:
"The implication is clear: Allah promised that the Jews will be murdered, and Hamas 'aspires to the realization of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take.'"
Has Hamas softened its hardline stance on the state of Israel?
In spite of the evidence of the Hamas Charter, some defenders of Hamas insist that since the Charter was drawn, Hamas has assumed a more pragmatic stance in its attitude to recognition of the right of the state of Israel to existence. But most Western analysts find the evidence unconvincing. Some analysts say that statements that may be interpreted as a shift from the initial hardline position are "dissemblance." quotes statements attributed to some leaders of the group that suggest that the hardline stance persists:
]Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that "Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing."
Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, in a column in the weekly newspaper Al Risalah in 2008 discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that "suffering by fire is the Jews' destiny in this world and the next." Astal concluded "Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews."
"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity" stated Hamas leader Fathi Hammad in Gaza on Friday January 2nd 2009.
According to Fox News, Hamas leader and cleric Yunis Al Astal, in a sermon aired on Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV, said:
"Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam. I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them"
Analysts note that although other statements by Hamas leaders are more moderate in tone, the group has rejected efforts by the international community to bring it to renounce its charter and recognize the right of Israel to exist.
However, some analysts maintain that the openness of Hamas to a negotiated settlement with Israel has never been truly tested and that it is unfair to conclude that Hamas is entirely closed to the possibility. The movement's top echelons include influential individuals who are seen as pragmatists. For instance, Hamas's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, is seen generally as open to talks with Israel. The Congressional Research Service notes that the leadership of Khaled Meshaal, has been challenged in 2012 by some of Hamas's leaders who favor a softer stance for Hamas.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also reports that Hamas leaders have hinted their willingness to negotiate a settlement on several occasions. According to The WSJ, in July 2009, "Khaled Meshaal said Hamas was willing to cooperate with the United States on promoting a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hamas, he said, would accept a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders provided Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Israel and East Jerusalem be recognized as the Palestinian capital. The proposal (however) fell short of recognizing the state of Israel, a necessary step for Hamas to be included in peace talks."
Given that direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been frozen since 2010 (The New York Times), it appears unfair to suggest that Hamas is entirely closed to exploring possibilities of a negotiated settlement.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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