How Israel Can 'Win' This War

Peter Beinart: A 'unity' deal is the best solution
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2012 3:58 PM CST
Israel Can 'Win' This War—at the Bargaining Table
A resident walks outside a damaged house after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from inside the Gaza Strip, landed at the community of Ofakim, in southern Israel, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.    (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

"Hamas forced Israel’s hand" by firing more rockets into Israel with each passing year, writes Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast. The question is why, and how can that answer help both sides achieve peace? Beinart looks back to when Hamas took power in Gaza in 2006: Washington responded by snubbing Hamas, and Israel imposed a partial blockade on Gaza—moves intended to weaken Hamas leaders and strengthen their more peaceful rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, on the West Bank. "But instead of suffering from Israel’s partial blockade, Hamas has exploited it," writes Beinart, and Abbas "has only grown weaker over the last six years."

So Israel is left pummeling Hamas into temporary submission, knowing that the group is bound to re-arm and strike again. Beinart's solution: Offer Palestinians a "unity government" deal that empowers Abbas to negotiate peace for all Palestinians, but lets Hamas run democratically as a party in the West Bank and Gaza. In return, Hamas would agree to stop the rocket fire. Admittedly, "the prospect of a political accommodation with Hamas ... may seem absurd" to Israelis, Beinart writes. But such a deal "maximizes the chances of Hamas eventually accepting the two-state solution, something that some Hamas leaders, at some moments, have publicly entertained." (More Israel and Palestinians stories.)

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