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How to view Hamas

February 07, 2009

Re "The new Hamas," Opinion, Jan. 31

Fawaz A. Gerges argues that Israel should negotiate directly with Hamas because, although Hamas has not discarded its core ideology that Jews have no place on what it considers Islamic lands, some Hamas leaders might be willing to accept a long-term truce.

When last year's cease-fire began, Hamas had rockets that reached the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. By the end of the cease-fire, which Hamas used as cover to smuggle more lethal weapons into Gaza, it had rockets that reached Beersheba, which is much farther away. It wouldn't take long into a truce for a Hamas-governed Palestinian state to have missiles that reach Tel Aviv.

Unless any Palestinian group is willing to put aside "armed resistance," unambiguously accept Israel's right to exist and embrace peace, Israel would be suicidal to enable the formation of a state led by those who remain committed to its destruction.

Rick Stampler

Los Angeles

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Gerges is straightforward and on target. If the U.S. is ever going to regain the respect lost during recent presidential administrations, it must change its preferential treatment of Israel and deal directly and fairly with Muslim countries.

As far as Hamas being labeled a terrorist organization, most Americans must have forgotten that two Israeli prime ministers were once terrorists hunted by the British. Both of these men, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were welcomed at the White House. I wonder if the present White House administration has the courage to welcome Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal?

John Zavesky

Riverside

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Gerges asks why Hamas should bargain away its call for the destruction of Israel before talks even begin. The answer is simple: Hamas should bargain it away to allow talks to begin.

Phil Gussin

Malibu

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