Reported Hamas/Israeli Talks: Hold the Cheers
by Stephen Lendman
Last Sunday, Hamas official Ahmad Yousef said "chats" were taking place with Israel under European mediation.
No direct Hamas/Israeli talks occurred. None are planned.
"We await the formation of an Israeli government so things can get more serious," said Yousef.
"European diplomats and civil society activists come to the Gaza Strip constantly and pose Israeli viewpoints and convey the reaction of the movement through unofficial chats."
Issues discussed include ceasefire terms and ending siege conditions "by opening a seaport to the outside world."
A scheduled Jimmy Carter-led Elders delegation visit was cancelled. It planned to assess conditions, highlight the humanitarian crisis, and meet with Hamas officials.
No explanation was given. The Elders call themselves "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights" - to "help resolve some of the world's most intractable conflicts."
The group's spokesperson expressed concern about lack of reconstruction "and the continued closure of Gaza, and will work with the international community to improve conditions for its people."
Israeli officials said they had no plans to meet Carter. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said his cancellation wasn't at Israel's request.
In his book titled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
," Carter said "Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East."
He calls West Bank/East Jerusalem settlements illegal, including products produced therein.
Yousef said international parties were mediating on returning remains of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza last summer.
"Hamas has a lot of important cards to play, and surprises on the topic of the missing soldiers," he added.
He explained no new deal would be made until Israel fulfills its earlier agreed on obligations.
He believes its new government when formed will have to deal with "Hamas' surprise."
Israel's YNet News
said Hamas sent Israel a "detailed proposal (for) a calm period of five to 10 years" three months before Israeli March elections.
No response was forthcoming. YNet News said Washington and Cairo rejected Hamas' initiative because it bypassed the (US/Israeli controlled) Palestinian Authority.
"Israel is rolling into a dialogue with Hamas, even if it isn't making a decision about it," said YNet.
It explained Israel's Occupied Territories coordinator and new IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot are "pushing for talks…while the political echelon is making these moves possible."
Dialogue with Hamas in any form is "conceal(ed)." It conflicts with Israel (wrongfully) calling it "a terror organization."
Meanwhile, Israel continues blocking Gaza reconstruction. A previous article quoted UNWRA saying "(n)ot a single home has been rebuilt" - eight months after Israel's genocidal war ended.
Large parts of Gaza were turned to rubble. Its economy is in ruins. Its 1.8 million people are ruthlessly collectively punished by Israeli's lawless blockade, as well as land, air and sea attacks at its discretion.
What happens if talks continue remains to be seen. Israel's history shows its word isn't its bond. It breached previous agreements straightaway.
It's all take and no give. It says one thing and does another. Peace and stability defeat its agenda. Hamas is a convenient enemy.
Expect no legitimate Israeli olive branch offered as far ahead as anyone might imagine. Expect business as usual harshness to continue whatever comes out of talks.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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