This is not exactly new news, but I was reading yesterday's NY Times article on the state of play in Gaza, and realized I hadn't read on this site that Egypt seems to be pushing for a proposal to end the violence in Gaza - not just in the short term, but in the long term.
Their proposal is for Hamas to demilitarize and align under a unity government with the West Bank in Fattah.
[Egypt] favors putting Gaza under the control of a unified Palestinian government formed by a recent deal between Hamas and its secular rival faction, Fatah, in the hope that the new government could disarm Hamas.A senior Hamas leder, Moussa Abu Marzook, is quoted as saying that Hamas is willing to accept the unity government, but not the de-militarization. Their counter is to split the military and civil wings:
He said the group welcomed the new coalition government but would keep its military wing distinct — and allow it to prepare for another potential war with Israel.Of course, Israel says that to lift the blockade, Hamas will have to do what Egypt is asking and give up violence as a weapon.
Both Israel and Egypt, its two neighbors, have made clear that they are unwilling to loosen the border restrictions significantly as long as Hamas is looking across from the other side. But ostensible control of Gaza by the new reconciliation government — which has renounced violence, recognized Israel and embraced the peace process — could be more palatable.(emphasis mine)
My take below the fold.
I am very encouraged by this notion of a way forward that includes a unity government which renounces violence and recognizes Israel - and demands Israel lifts the blockade and accepts peace.
Of course, there are right wing kooks like the quoted Marzook who do not want to give up their weapons, and there are plenty of right-wing kooks in Israel that will fight any plan for peace.
But this plan being pushed forward by Egypt, which Mahmoud Abbas may be able to get on board with, seems like it offers a real hope. We need moderates from both sides to stand up to their extremists and say the time for peace is now, the path forward is in giving up violence as a tool, and agreeing to move forward in peace.
I know it sucks for Hamas to give up its weapons when Gazans have legitimate grievances and mistrust of Israel. But if we want peace, it's the only realistic way forward. We've tried the other way for 70 years so maybe enough moderates on both sides will say it's time to try a new way.
It's time to give peace a chance.
(edited because after publishing, I saw something in bold that shouldn't have been)