Seeking Peace with the Palestinians


Hamas's Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (l.) conferring with
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen)

The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations – known as "The Quartet" – have demanded that any Palestinian government must be committed to three conditions: 

  1. Recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state living in peace and security alongside a Palestinian Arab state.
  2. Renunciation of terrorism and violence.
  3. Acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap to Peace.

Through its direct involvement in terrorism and its ongoing statements advocating violence, opposing a two-state solution, and denying Israel's right to exist, Hamas – a designated terrorist organization – has made clear that it cannot be a participant in any peace agreement with Israel. In December 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, which bars aid to and contacts with the Palestinian Authority until its leaders reverse course on all three issues. Meanwhile, Hamas is locked in a struggle with Fatah for control of the Palestinian political regime, and violently took over Gaza in summer 2007.
Hamas and its allies in Gaza continue to fire rockets and mortars at Israeli towns. Israel demands an end to rocket fire and a cessation of arms smuggling by Hamas. Until Hamas renounces violence, Israel is compelled to defend itself through both pre-emption and retaliation.