08 January 2009

08 January 2009 - Obama wants to talk to Hamas?

So says the UK Guardian, so take it with a grain of salt. But there's no reason to deny that it's something president-elect Obama is considering--especially given the views of his Middle East advisers, and his stated belief that Hamas has "legitimate" aims.

For the benefit of the new administration, here are five very good reasons not to talk to Hamas:

1. The "realist" reason: Hamas is not interested in talks, except as a way of stalling while it arms itself.

2. The "geopolitical" reason: Hamas is being funded by Iran, which is not interested in talks even if Obama is.

3. The "domestic" reason: Until all extremist groups are disarmed, Hamas won't talk, lest it be outflanked.

4. The "precedent" reason: No talks in recent history have succeeded when one side refused to suspend violence.

5. The "human rights" reason: No regime that abuses its own citizens' rights can be trusted to make peace.

The Gaza War offers a unique opportunity for the west to contain Hamas or destroy it, depending on what Hamas does in the next few days.

If Obama extends a hand to Hamas before it complies with basic international demands, he will cancel the gains of the last two weeks, which have been won at considerable cost, and make peace even harder to achieve.

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