Here are two articles that I highly recommend. First, James Zogby discusses Israel's true agenda behind Operation Pillar of Defense. In the second article, Former Knesset member, Rabbi Michael Melchior claims that he has spoke with religious leaders amongst Islamic extremists and they are willing to live with Israel. I'm not sure what to make of the second article. Melchior doesn't mention any names and it is impossible to know exactly what these extremists told him. Were they leading him on and deceiving him into believing that a final and permanent peace is possible when, in fact, they really only intended a hudna, a tactical peace that will be broken when Hamas believes the balance of power is in its favor? Melchior says he is convinced that its not the case... that Islamic religious leaders are willing to live with Israel, despite its waqf status. This would be a major development IF true. It would be especially tragic if Israel was to sabotage the only possibility of a two-state solution by continued settlement expansion just before Hamas had a change of heart. Of course, this could be no more than smoke and mirrors, but it is important to that we keep our eyes open for any opportunities that arise amongst the smoke.Gaza: Clarifying Israel's Intentions by James ZogbyIsrael's claimed that the goal of its 2012 attack in Gaza is "to finish [Hamas] off, so we can sit with moderates and talk peace." However, Israel's real agenda seems to be to tame Hamas to act as its "policeman" on the West Bank. Zogby writes:
If Israel never intended to "finish Hamas," then what of the claim that it wants to work with "moderate" Palestinian leaders to "talk peace?" That, too, is a clear distortion of the truth. In the midst of the Gaza conflict, Israel announced the construction of hundreds of new housing units in the Occupied Territories, coupled with renewed threats against the Palestinian Authority should its President, Mahmoud Abbas, proceed with plans to seek limited U.N. recognition later this month.What has long been clear is that Prime Minister Netanyahu's acceptance of a "two state solution" and his offer to "negotiate without preconditions" was a feint designed to keep his U.S. patron at bay. To an extent, it has worked. Ignored, however, by Israel's supporters are Netanyahu's own "preconditions:" he will never surrender occupied East Jerusalem or the substantial area of the West bank that Israel has annexed into what it calls "Greater Jerusalem; he insists on keeping control of the massive settlements and network of connecting "Jewish-only" roads Israel has built in the West Bank -- laid out with the intention of "making impossible the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian State;" and he maintains that he will not surrender control of the Jordan Valley -- which Israel claims is vital for its security. All of which make negotiations and peace impossible.Netanyahu's goal is not a lasting peace based on two states.
Read the entire article. Islam is ready for peace with Israel, says rabbi who has met with ‘whole strata’ of radicals Former Knesset member, Rabbi Michael Melchior, says he has spoken to religious figures… even radicals… amongst Hamas and throughout the Arab world, and he says they are willing to live side by side in peace with Israel
I’m a little afraid that we here [in Israel] are living a little in a bubble. . . We have somehow convinced ourselves that we are living in a situation where it’s not possible to achieve what the vast, vast majority of the people here want: People here want a just society, a society where there’s much more equality. And the vast, vast majority want peace here – peace with our neighbors.But we’ve somehow bought the argument that it’s not possible, that there’s nobody to make peace with – that our neighbors don’t want it, Islam doesn’t want it, it’s impossible, at least in our foreseeable future. And we sold that argument to at least a part of the more active of the American Jews. I think that’s a catastrophe, because it’s not true. . . . . . as the person — at least in the Jewish world or in the state of Israel — who more than probably any other person has met with leading personalities, including Islamists, on the other side, amongst the Palestinians, amongst the Arab countries that we have relations with, and (the ones) we don’t have relations with, I have yet to meet with personalities who are not willing to make peace with us.I come to them as a staunch Zionist, as a rabbi, somebody who believes with all his heart in the future of the state of Israel as a state of the Jewish people which will be here for all of the future, not as somebody who is willing to give up in some wishy washy (way). And everybody knows that that is where I come from. I have met with a whole strata of the most radical – the more radical, the better, from my point of view. I have yet to meet with somebody who is not willing to make peace based on that formula. Everybody?Everybody. Everybody. I can’t specify, but including people who I probably shouldn’t meet with, all kinds of leaders… And they’ve agreed to have a Jewish, sovereign state…?Yes, a Jewish sovereign state in the land of the Wakf, in the land of dar al-Islam, a Jewish sovereign state, here, yes. I know you just met with Mahmoud Abbas, but you’re also talking about…?Abbas, that’s easy. Everybody meets with him. So these wonderful intimations you’ve heard. Who from?I’m talking about the much more radical Islamists. I can’t be more specific – in the Palestinian territories, in Judea, in Samaria, in Gaza, in Egypt, in all the North African countries… People with real authority?People with real authority, more extreme people, people at all levels with all the authority… And they say this only to you?They are also willing, under the right circumstances we have to create, to go out and to say it, to sign it, in all capacities. The Hamas leadership…?In my assessment it is possible to make peace with Hamas. Hamas is a branch of the Islamic Brotherhood. How many years have we been saying that the Islamic Brotherhood will never, never accept a Jewish state, the state of Israel, here? Those who have been following carefully what the Islamic Brotherhood have been saying and writing — which people don’t do, even the Arabists never do it — well, they had been talking long before the Arab Spring, or whatever you want to call it, about the possibility of living with an Israel here. But that of course has never been reported here, because it doesn’t fit into our picture of Islam.Now, suddenly, they (the Egyptians) have sent their ambassador here. Now that doesn’t mean it’s a clearcut position, but they have appointed this ambassador and they have peace with Israel in spite of the Muslim Brotherhood presidency.Let’s close our eyes for a moment. Let’s just say that the following would be possible: That we could have a religious peace between Judaism and Islam, where the leading Jewish and Islamic authorities would give their religious legitimization to a two-state solution, which would accept that there is a Jewish state next to a Palestinian state living in peace. Not a hudna, not an armistice. Living in full peace next to each other. Even beyond that – with an Arab minority living in Israel, maybe even with a Jewish minority living in Palestine.Let’s say that this would get the support from leading Islamic authorities — from the Islamic Brotherhood, Hamas and Fatah — and the leading rabbis and the poskim (authorities on Jewish law), 80 or 90 percent of the poskim. Would that be good? That would be good.That would be good. Okay. Now my claim is that it is not only possible, but that it is very much within reach."