For those optimists who continue to believe peace with the Palestinians is possible, the focus in the Middle East continues to be on Israel. The fact that even the supposedly hard-line government of Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to a two-state solution and proposed peace talks without preconditions is ignored. Instead, the world focuses on the wayward behavior of a single Israeli officer who assaulted protesters in the country to demand its destruction. That officer’s actions were wrong, but they were not, as the New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier incorrectly claimed, a reflection of Netanyahu’s “contempt” for world opinion. Rather, they were an individual’s response, albeit wrong-headed, to the contempt that those who hate Israel have for it. However, today brings a reminder that those who view Middle East peace as something that only is about Israeli decision-making are looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope.
The Forward’s Larry Cohler-Esses snagged an interview with Mussa Abu Marzook, the second-highest ranking official in Hamas, and what he found out was something that caused him, as the journalist later told Haaretz, to view the situation with less optimism. Though apologists for Hamas claim the group is moving toward peace with Israel, Abu Marzook made it plain that the best that could be hoped for is “hudna,” or truce, rather than a peace that would end the conflict. He also defended Hamas’s right to continue attacks on Jewish civilians.