Despite near-universal condemnations of Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and continued promises of violence from Palestinian terrorist groups, The Guardian reports that this unilateral action is having the intended effect:
But beneath the rhetoric, the tone of Hamas leaders was more moderate.
Ismail Haniya, one of its senior officials, said that discussions with the Palestinian Authority would continue.
“We will continue along the path that Rantissi started.
“We will share the administration of Gaza if the Israelis withdraw,” he said.
He said that if the Gaza Strip was evacuated by the Israelis and the West Bank remained occupied, Hamas would cease fighting in the Gaza Strip.
“If the Israelis are not in Gaza, there is no reason for resistance,” he said.
As long as Israel retreated from all the territory of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s control of the sea, air and border crossings would not be a reason to continue fighting.
Granted, Hamas is not an organization known for keeping its word, and its ultimate purpose, along with that of similar terrorist groups, remains intact:
The official position of Hamas is that historic Palestine – Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – is an Islamic trust and must be ruled by Muslims.
But in the past year it has moved to a position of accepting a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza and leaving the struggle for Israel to future generations.
Attacks on Israel remain on the agenda for revenge and to demonstrate that Hamas will continue to resist Israel.
Continued concessions would seem to indicate that Israel is winning its war on terror. While it is naive to think that the current leadership of either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas will accept the right of Israel to exist, any steps that can be taken to stem the tide of violence are both welcome and just.