For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Over the weekend, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal danced around the question over what the Islamist terrorist group meant by its newly declared acceptance of a two-state solution. As Rick wrote on Monday, he told the New York Times that this mean a Palestinian state in every inch of the territories that were occupied by Jordan and Egypt from 1949 to 1967 including Jerusalem with no swaps of territories with Israel. When asked whether this would mean an end to the conflict, he replied, “I don’t want to talk about that.”
Yesterday, Mahmoud Zahar, another senior Hamas official, filled in a few more details about the Hamas “peace” plan. According to the Jerusalem Post, though the group now says it will accept the idea of two states, the Palestinians will not recognize Israel, because doing so would “cancel the right of the next generations to liberate the lands.” He also noted that recognition of Israel could lead to Palestinian refugees losing their right of return.
He also clarified that Hamas’s unity pact with Fatah does not mean an end to “resistance” against Israel though the Islamists are interested in maintaining the current cease-fire along the border with Gaza (that is only intermittently broken by terrorist missiles aimed at Israeli civilians), they want it understood that “a truce is not peace.”
Interestingly, Zahar also warned that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas would not be allowed to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza anytime soon.
There are those who are interpreting these comments as progress towards peace because this is the first time that Hamas has not insisted that there will only be an Arab state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. That may be so. But it is also being made clear that Hamas views the current cease fire or even the proclamation of a Palestinian state which they will rule in coalition with Fatah as just an interim move that would merely be a prelude to future aggression against Israel. There is no logical reason why Israel should agree to making more tangible concessions to the Palestinians as a result of these statements since the only result will be a continuation of the conflict on more unfavorable terms in the future. If even the cease-fire with the Palestinians is not to be permanent, what possible reason would there be for Israel to accept such terms, as many in the United States and Europe are urging, as a basis for negotiations?
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I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"