A Balance of Interests

Reading Hamas

By Lara Friedman

Published April 29, 2012, issue of May 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Forward’s interview with Mousa Abu Marzook highlights some fundamental truths about peacemaking: You make peace with your enemies, not your friends; you make peace not to be nice, but because it is in your self-interest; real peace must reflect a balance of interests, not an imbalance of power, and security arrangements, not trust, will be the foundation of any peace treaty.

It isn’t news that some Palestinians may never give up their dream of reclaiming all of “historic Palestine.” And this isn’t an argument against an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.

Israel doesn’t need Palestinians to embrace it. It needs a durable agreement establishing recognized international borders that preserve it as a Jewish state and a democracy. After that, some may still dream of Israel’s destruction, but they’ll have to give up acting on these views — or be thwarted by Israel, which will have the unchallengeable legitimacy of a sovereign state acting in self-defense. Some Israelis, too, may never relinquish the dream of Greater Israel, but with a peace agreement, they must relinquish efforts to realize this dream.

Abu Marzook’s words also underscore why Palestinian reconciliation is vital to achieving peace. A peace agreement negotiated in the context of Palestinian unity will be much harder for Hamas or any party to subsequently renege on, at least without appearing hypocritical in the eyes of its people. Likewise, his comments demonstrate why it is vital that an agreement leaves neither people feeling humiliated, and leaves both peoples so much better off that they will reject anyone seeking to undermine the new status quo.

Finally, the interview demonstrates why any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement must include comprehensive security arrangements to ensure that no matter what might happen among the Palestinians or in the region, Israel’s security is protected. This is just common sense. Israeli security planning takes into account the possibility of a breakdown of the Jordan and Egypt peace treaties, and, so, too, must it take into account potential worst-case scenarios after an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Lara Friedman is the director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.