Thoughts on the demands made to Hamas

The Palestinian government is constantly being told that it must renounce violence and recognise the state of Israel.

Here’s the thing: Hamas has no incentive to renounce violence as long as Israelis aren’t being told to do the same.

And what does it mean to recognise the state of Israel? It doesn’t mean “acknowledge Israel” because no one is denying Israel exists. What the “hawks” keep claiming is that Hamas/Palestinians/Arabs/insert-term-of-choice-here want to “chase Jews into the sea” and “wipe Israel off the map”.

So “recognise Israel probably means something like “accept that Israelis are here to stay, and that Israel isn’t going to disappear”. In which case, why is no one demanding that the Israeli government “recognise” Palestine? Where are the demands for the Israeli government to accept that Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the places they live in or grew up in, and have a right of return? Where are the demands for the Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the occupied (not “disputed”) territories?

It’s deeply foolish and, dare I say it, naive to place demands on the Palestinian government and expect them to comply, when no parallel demands are being made to the Israeli government.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the demands made to Hamas”

  1. Two comments: first, that the demand to recognise right of an entity to exist is meaningless unless the entity is defined. Are the Palestinians being called on to recognise the right of Israel-in-the-1948-borders to exist, or Israel-from-the-river-to-the-sea? A lot of people, not only Palestinians, would accept the the first, but not the second. But what the Palestinians are being told is: get the recognising done, we can decide later exactly what it was that you recognised!

    Second: I have seen it well argued that for Palestinians, being asked to recognise Israel’s right to exist rather than its existence, feels like being asked to recognise that what happened in 1948 was justified. That’s a much, much harder pill to swallow than to recognise that it happened and that everyone has to get on with living with the consequences. For them, that can feel like a demand that they agree that it was right and proper that they should have been driven off their land.

  2. Excellent points.

    first, that the demand to recognise right of an entity to exist is meaningless unless the entity is defined.

    Indeed. And for that matter, if the demand is to recognise an area of land as Israel, why are there no parallel demands on the Israeli gov to recognise Palestine? (Granted we run into the same problems of defining, but why is there not even a discussion of recognising Palestine?)

  3. As someone who has spent time over many years giving talks to various Groups (especially Churchgroups) in an effort to combat much misunderstanding concerning Israel and the Jewish people amongst them (viewpoints mostly gauged from the media) I am very distressed to read such misguided and innacurate remarks from the organisation SJJP. May i respectfully suggest you ,first- show support by spending some months in Sderot (where over 4,000 rockets have been fired since the Gaza withdrawal) become better informed by listening to Arabic TV and radio, call to mind even recent history (such as former PM Ehud Barak who offered the Palestinians a State with part of Jerusalem as its capital) or, at least, stand humbly with your own brethren, and if you cannot give active support, at least have the wisdom to remain silent on issues you clearly do not understand.
    signed ‘disheartened’.

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