Apr 23, 2008 12:15 pm


The Islamists must, of course, accept the existence of the Israeli state, but as the result of an agreed two-states solution; the demand that Hamas should first accept an Israel in a constant state of expansion is unreal and unjustified.

The Financial Times editors must think their readers possess total amnesia. How else can their editors justify claiming that Israel has been expanding when in reality it has repeatedly retreated from from territories captured to prevent them from being terrorist exit bases?

Israel gave up the Sinai in 1957 and 1982.

Israel gave up the Lebanese territory in 1985 and 2000.

Israel gave up Gaza in 2005.

Only in an Orwellian world can this be called a constant state of expansion.

What the Financial Times editors or the self aggrandizing Jimmy (who?) Carter refuse to acknowledge is that Israeli efforts to purchase peace with land turned out to be a miserable failure. With the exception of the the Cold peace with Egypt, each territorial concession has been followed up with an uptick in anti-Israeli violence. To pretend otherwise is to engage in vile sophistry. To encourage additional withdrawals is nothing short of callous disregard for Israeli lives not to mention"unreal and unjustified."

In a letter published this morning Mr Sandy Berkovski effectively rebutts other claims made by the editors:

Sir, I found your editorial “Hamas and peace” (April 22) deliberately provocative. It begins with a title containing a contradiction in terms, and continues with a series of inaccuracies, exaggerations and unwarranted assumptions.

You write that former US president Jimmy Carter had done more than anyone else to secure the Camp David agreement. In fact, the real cause was President Sadat's strategic decision to cut the deal with Israel. Mr Carter's contribution was to make the agreement less favourable to Israel than it would have been otherwise.

You go on by taking Mr Carter at his word when he claims that Hamas agreed to co-exist peacefully with Israel. However, the raison d'être of Hamas is in driving the Jews out of the Holy Land. Their strategy is long-standing and well-documented. To believe that a few hours of a conversation with Mr Carter could change it is naive and absurd.

You refer to the Saudi plan as offering full peace to Israel. In fact, the plan only says that, after the full withdrawal from the post-1967 territories and the “just solution” of the Palestinian “refugees” problem, the recognition of Israel will be on the table. Far from offering “full peace” the plan calls for tangible present concessions from Israel in return for vague and non-binding promises in the future. This is hardly a diplomatic plan, more a simple statement of purpose. Nor has Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority chairman, met “all Israeli and US preconditions” for talks. Actually the main precondition, and possibly the only one that matters, is Mr Abbas's dismantling of the terrorist network in the areas he controls. Nothing was done in that direction, because of either Mr Abbas's political ineptness, or else his unwillingness.

Finally you allow one precondition for talks that Hamas is expected to satisfy, and it is a ceasefire. However, a ceasefire with Israel will be exploited by Hamas, as it was in the past, in order to improve its military capabilities. From its perspective, the struggle with Israel ends with the last Jew out of the Holy Land. Any ceasefire is but a salutary tactical step in achieving its strategic goal.

comments powered by Disqus