Azzam Tamimi

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A recent poll published in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz suggested that 64% of Israelis favoured a negotiated truce with Hamas. But in the past few days, a military onslaught that has so far claimed more than a hundred Palestinian lives, mostly women and children, has made it clear that the Israeli leadership is not interested in any peaceful exit from the current predicament.

The Ha'aretz poll may point to a lack of confidence in the government's ability to settle its problem with Gaza through the use of force, and vindicate those within the military and intelligence community who have been advising the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert to talk to Hamas.…  Seguir leyendo »

David Trimble cannot be accused of lacking knowledge of what the Irish problem was about; he had been part of the problem as well as the solution. However, his lack of expertise on the Palestinian problem - which he admitted on the BBC's Newsnight recently - surely renders him ill qualified to insist, as he did on these pages recently, that Hamas should be excluded from any talks until it first complies with the conditions of the Quartet (the US, Russia, EU and UN): recognition of Israel, repudiation of violence and recognition of past agreements between Israel and the PLO.

Trimble's warning against learning the wrong lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process derives from the assertion that the process was based on clear preconditions.…  Seguir leyendo »