Opinion: Hamas Could Have Chosen Peace. Instead, It Made Gaza Suffer.

Logo: Washington Post website.

Logo: Washington Post website.

Hamas could have chosen peace. Instead, it made Gaza suffer.

By Dennis Ross

August 8, 2014

Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as President Bill Clinton’s Middle East negotiator and was a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011.

Excerpts:

>  Unfortunately, we know the path Hamas chose. Even as Israel was completing the process of withdrawing all its settlers and soldiers from Gaza, Hamas carried out a bus-station bombing in Israel. Then, from late 2005 to early 2006, Hamas conducted multiple attacks on the very crossing points that allowed people and goods to move into and out of Gaza. For Hamas, it was more important to continue “resistance” than to allow Gazans to constructively test their new freedom — or to give Israelis a reason to think that withdrawal could work. Some argue that Israel withdrew but imposed a siege on Gaza. In reality, Hamas produced the siege. Israel’s tight embargo on Gaza came only after ongoing Hamas attacks.

>  At some point, Hamas will stop firing rockets — if for no other reason than its arsenal is depleted. For the people of Gaza, however, the price has been staggering. But Hamas’s leaders have never been concerned about that. For them, Palestinians’ pain and suffering are tools to exploit, not conditions to end.

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