Friday, September 22, 2006

Recognizing Israel

Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel has emerged as the main stumbling block to the formation of a national unity government in the Palestinian territories. I can understand why Palestinians resent having to recognize a state they view as illegitimately founded and which refuses to recognize their own national claims. On the other hand, recognition was afforded by Yasser Arafat, and supported by democratically elected Palestinian governments prior to the Hamas takeover. Part of Hamas's evolution from militant revolutionary movement to responsible governing party will have to be living the with commitments of their predecessors. In a fairer world, it might be possible to simply declare a Palestinian state as a way of trying to balance the scales, but I suspect that wouldn't go over well in Israel.

It's worth pointing out that all this is happening as we enter a period of heightened security due to the Jewish high holy days. The Palestinians will pay the price for this.

UPDATE: Hamas, of course, takes a more hard-line stance against Israel than I do even under the best of circumstances. According to Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyeh, "We support establishing a Palestinian state in the land of 1967 at this stage, but in return for a cease-fire, not recognition." In that formula, recognition simply isn't in the cards.


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