Hamas in Power: New Questions (4 Letters) - New York Times: "To the Editor:
Thomas L. Friedman has it right when he says 'Hamas deeds on the ground,' not words, 'would reassure Israelis' ('Let Hamas Sink or Swim on Its Own,' column, Feb. 17).
This is not the time for politicians from your country or mine to offer knee-jerk, counterproductive declarations or legislation to cater to their electorates. Instead, we should make clear a willingness to sit with any leadership willing to negotiate a bilateral agreement. And then we should wait to see what unfolds within the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
The installation of the new Palestinian parliament on Saturday highlighted the sharp differences over how to proceed. There are also signs that many within Hamas recognize the need to change direction, but it is too early to tell whether they will prevail.
If we Israelis find that we have no Palestinian partner, we always have the option of making a stand behind the security fence that we build and the borders that we demarcate unilaterally.
Kfar Saba, Israel, Feb. 18, 2006
The writer, a retired general and a member of Israel Policy Forum's Israel Advisory Council, was head of Israel's military intelligence and coordinator of Israeli government operations in the occupied territories. "