Lamis Andoni at PostGlobal

Lamis Andoni

Doha, Qatar

Lamis Andoni is a Middle East consultant for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news station. She has been covering the Middle East for 20 years. She has reported for the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times and the main newspapers in Jordan. She was a professor at the Graduate School in UC Berkeley. Close.

Lamis Andoni

Doha, Qatar

Lamis Andoni is a Middle East consultant for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news station. more »

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Israel Must Engage -- Not Hamas

Before getting into a serious discussion about engaging Hamas, several points of principle have to be clarified.

First, Hamas should be recognized and dealt with as a legitimate and elected representative of the Palestinians people.

Second, the US and other Western governments have no right to boycott or impose a blockade on the Islamic Resistance Movement or any Palestinian group.

Third, neither American nor Israeli officials have the right to determine Palestinian representatives in general or at the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, in particular.

And fourth, Israel should be subject to the same conditions that the world demands from Hamas and Palestinians as preconditions to engaging in the so-called peace process.

As the situation stands now, we are witnessing a "process" that has turned into a farce and serves only as a façade to cover continued Israeli colonization of Palestinian lands.

nstead of such a farce, the world should no longer accept the US-backed Israeli conditions that are imposed on Palestinians and demanded of Hamas as proof of “eligibility” to enter into “peace negotiations” and, more importantly, to join the international community.

The contrast between the conditions imposed on the Palestinians and Israel's actions and policies exposes the fallacy of these terms of engagement in the peace process.

Hamas is asked to recognize the right of Israel to exist and abandon its calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, while Israel is practically and violently engaged in destruction of what is left of Palestinian lands through construction of illegal settlements, expropriation of lands and displacement of Palestinians.

Hamas is asked to renounce terrorism, while Israel as an occupying power is engaged in systematic and collective violence against a Palestinian population it holds hostage under its military occupation.

Hamas is asked to fully endorse and accept signed agreements, while Israel has yet to respect, let alone fulfill, these same agreements, which it has signed.

More significantly, the Palestinian Authority, by accepting Israel’s terms of engagements, has gained nothing but Israeli disregard and loss of credibility among its constituency. It is seen impotent and unable to defend Palestinian land and people from Israeli aggressions and transgressions.

The world community should not misunderstand or be mislead by the Israeli calls for “engaging“ or talking to Hamas: Israeli proposals are mainly focused on reaching security arrangements with Hamas that aim to stop rockets being fired from the besieged Gaza Strip. Thus, they do not amount to a recognition of Hamas as a political counterpart to sit -- together with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority -- at the negotiating table.

They aim only to end Hamas as a resistance movement and turn it into an enforcer of Israeli security in the Gaza Strip. Such calls fall in line with the Israeli policy that is exploiting the current Pasletinian divide between Hamas and Fatah to create, if possible, two separate proxy “authorities“ that control and police the Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.

It is a classic colonial divide-and-rule tactic facilitated by the Fatah-Hamas rivalry and an international failure to force Israel to commit to end its occupation of Palestinian lands.

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