Talking with Hamas and the Taliban
Talking with Hamas and the Taliban
Monday, April 6,2009 11:05

In the New York Times, Roger Cohen discusses a recent interview with Recep Tayyip Erdogan where the Turkish PM called for a new balance in U.S. policy toward the Middle East and argued “Hamas must be represented at the negotiating table. Only then can you get a solution.” Cohen explains, “how Hamas is viewed is a pivotal issue in the current American Middle East policy review. The victor in 2006 Palestinian elections, Hamas is seen throughout the region as a legitimate resistance movement.” Furthermore, attempts to marginalize it have proven ineffective as it is entrenched in the Palestinian political and social movement.

Shlomo Avineri at Haaretz agrees with those who call for dialogue with Hamas; albeit for a different reason. He explains, “it is clear we need to talk with them” but a focus should be placed on “what is written in their founding covenant.” Outlining some of the main points of Hamas’ charter, Avineri writes, “if a movement like this were to come out of Europe, no one would even imagine that negotiations be held with it, or that it be asked to join a government…An abomination like that has no place in any political discourse.” Nevertheless, if people want diplomatic engagement with the organization, Avineri thinks this issue is what really should be addressed.

Meanwhile, at The Huffington Post, Robert Naiman advocates talking with the Taliban as it “costs nothing, kills no-one, and is compatible and complementary, at least initially, with every other strategy.” He further notes, “why not make agreements with most of the people we are now fighting, and agree to a timetable for withdrawal, as we have done in Iraq?”

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