The Elephant in the Room

by Larbi Sadiki — An Al Jazeera Excerpt

Excluding Hamas from current and future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is an exercise in futility.

Sidelining Hamas in any process to craft genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a glaring omission tantamount to ignoring an elephant in the room. Whether it is Obama’s or the UN’s negotiating room, pretending something of that size absent is an exercise in futility. Hamas is definitely an elephant with many tales. Telling some of these tales recounts the Islamist movement’s rise to power against all odds.

A movement under ‘siege’

Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas exists in a world that does not want it and in which it is ‘wanted’, a world some might argue it does not also want. It is lumped with the bogeymen and ‘demons’ of world politics on whom are blamed ‘terror’ and the state of ‘structured chaos’ in the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, amongst other hotspots. Hamas is no angel and there are no angels in politics. Indeed, part of the problem lies not only in the political strategies Hamas occasionally deploys, but also in the excessive secrecy surrounding most of the movement’s activities.

Understandably, Hamas’s siege mentality is owed to it being consistently the target of Arab, Israeli and Palestinian espionage activities as well as serious attempts to eliminate it from the political stage and liquidate its military and political commanders.

However, because of secrecy the world knows little about the movement’s internal institution-building, diversity of opinion, consultative processes, and voting procedures. Along with neo-Orientalist depictions making it reducible to a ‘militia’ or ‘terrorist’ organisation, Hamas’s own secrecy and miscommunication have solidified in Western public opinion stereotypes of hostility to peace and embrace of violence for the sake of violence.

Read the rest here.

8 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room”

  1. Unfortunately, without Hamas, nothing will be able to move forward. As it is said here, Hamas is certainly the “elephant in the room.” Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor in Gaza explores this topic in an interesting way: “For now, Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza are excluded from the peace talks, which means that the negotiations will most likely not lead to an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But every day that Gazans are left to stew in an unhealthy mix of siege, poverty, and unemployment is a day that strengthens the Hamas hardliners. A failure of Palestinian-Israeli talks would only prove Hamas’s basic point: nothing moves forward without us.” Check out more of his article here:

  2. “Excluding Hamas from current and future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is an exercise in futility.”

    I would probably agree with that. But there is a good reason why Hamas is being excluded. Hamas is excluded because it is a violent and racist organization. I am not trying to demonize them. Hamas proudly proclaims its targeting of civilians and takes responsibility for shooting pregnant women in their cars.

    In Gaza, Hamas legislates against the rights of women to smoke in public and against gay men and women freely expressing their sexuality.

    Until Hamas is willing to reform itself and reject its violent origins as Fatah and Sinn Fein (and the Likud for that matter) have done before them, it will never be welcome at a peace negotiation.

    There is plenty that we Israelis need to do to prove our commitment to peace, but Hamas need to act as well.

    1. Elements of Hamas have become reactionary because of Israel’s policies of violent murders, assassinations, indiscriminate war, occupation and sieges upon the Palestinian people. However, even though some of what you say is not true and merely propaganda taken from Zionist websites, I too don’t agree with many of Hamas’s policies. Nevertheless, here are two things you conveniently forget to mention because they make your argument meaningless:

      1) Hamas, unlike the PA, was actually elected by Palestinians

      2) The real reason Hamas is not included in the negotiating process is precisely because it was elected by Palestinians and refuses to whitewash Israel’s crimes so it can profit from bribe money.

      This is another reality you must accept at some point:

      1) Until Israel ceases its illegal occupation of Gaza and other parts of Palestine
      2) Until Israel lifts the illegal siege of Gaza (for you we can use the word “blockade”)
      3) Until Israel stops imprisoning, torturing and murdering Palestinian children and adults
      4) Until Israel stops colonizing Palestinian land

      Hamas will continue to build support among the Palestinian population, regardless of domestic policies because Palestinians have demonstrated for over 60 years that the number one thing they are interested in is freedom from Israeli occupation.

      If Israel was concerned with the crimes you accuse Hamas of because Israel is interested in human rights then Israel’s own human rights record with Palestinians would be very different than what it is. Many of Hamas’s policies are objectionable, but it is not up to me or anyone other than Palestinians to decide their fate. And again, if, as you argue, Hamas is excluded from the negotiation process (whatever that may be) because of its human rights abuses then no party that is currently involved in the negotiations should be there either.

      You are not fooling anyone with your fake display of objectivity. You Zionists really need to think of ways to be more clever — people aren’t as stupid as you assume.

  3. Omitting Hamas guarantees that there will be no progress in futile “peace talks”.

    Zionists certainly do not want peace, they would be obliged to reveal their borders ~ Yes show us the map we are negotiating about.

    With world opinion of Izrael so dismal b/c of the aggressive brutality & vicious occupation, Izrael needs another diversion.

    If there were a peace agreement Izrael would have to stop colonizing & they are rushing to occupy as much of East Jerusalem & West Bank so there will be facts on the ground.

    Who wants a state that promises to remain unarmed, divided into 2 parts that can’t travel between the two because of checkpoints, restrictions, curfews, road closures, Jew Only highways, etc. A state that would be at the perpetual mercy of the Zionists for water, electricity, & how can an unarmed state begin to safeguard their meager borders.

    BDS is beginning to bear fruit, foolish to make any new concessions when zionists have made none, they never stopped stealing land, property and when they come across anything of value on Palestinian OPT. zionists declare it a military zone – no Palestinians allowed on their former property.

    Of course elected Hamas should be one of the Palestinian side’s negotiators.

  4. Imho BDS is beginning to bear fruit, I’m unable to provide links because I’m not a researcher be/c of time constraints.

    I think one example is Motorola which quit supplying Israel with parts for their illegal surveillance of occupied Palestinians, I attribute this to the pressure of BDS.

    I have read of other companies reevaluating, there has been the refusal of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd to entertain apartheid Israel recently. You can find a video of Roger Waters on UTube singing “We shall Overcome” with part of the video of Waters at the Apartheid Wall. Successful, no?

    The process begins slowly, drip by drip, until it becomes irresistable. ~ I feel the sentiment in USA changing, it is perceptable. The Israelis are viewed with disgust&anger at their brutality – the USAns may still be wary of Palestinians but the truth is available for the interested of the world to know who the victim is, and it is not the traditional victim Israel.

    I disagree that the boycott is racist, where does that come from? I realise Israel/zionists don’t understand what a lynching is, could that be true of the word racism also?

    You address the blog as if the world is Izraeliocentric, the hubris is breathtaking.

  5. Segal thinks that boycotting an apartheid state is ‘racist.’ Perhaps this is the same logic that made Zionists break the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

    1. I’m vaguely aware how far back the zionist project has been working towards claiming all of “eretz Israel”.

      The zionist project is candid about coveting the land of Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria.(from river to river)

      USA aggressed & occupied Iraq for zion’s goals of domination.

      We’ve heard this week from Israeli spokespeople (Netanyahu) that Jerusalem will never be divided and the West Bank settlements will not be given up.

      So again I conclude the zionists do not want to give up colonizing therefore they have no interest in peace, only in domination.

      Has the world forgotten that Israel set up Hamas & freed
      Sheik Yassin, only to murder him & other innocents with ‘targetted assassination’?

      I think the UN should go about dismantling this illegitimate,racist zionist state, it is responsible for how many murders, tortures, maimings and continuous theft and injustice?

      Why can’t the people of the world have a voice here?
      Especially us in the USA, who promised the entity three billion USA dollars, while freezing cost of living adjustments to social security.

      At the least USA should use that $$$ to negotiate with.

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