The New Litmus Tests For Peace

Beinart wishes that Israel would get tough on Hamas by negotiating with Fatah:

So why doesn’t Israel do more to weaken Hamas and boost its rivals? Contrary to the conspiracy theories you sometimes hear in pro-Palestinian circles, it’s not because Israel prefers Hamas. It’s because the Israeli right doesn’t see Abbas and Hamas as fundamentally different. For Israeli and American Jewish hawks, it is taken for granted that Abbas, like Hamas, is not a real partner for peace. Why? Because he won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state, renounce refugee return, negotiate without a settlement freeze or an agreement on the 1967 parameters, or accept an indefinite Israeli troop presence in the Jordan Valley. What those Israeli and American Jewish hawks don’t usually acknowledge is that many of these litmus tests are new. Egypt and Jordan didn’t accept Israel as a “Jewish state” when they made peace. Ehud Olmert agreed to some limited return of original Palestinian refugees. He negotiated within the 1967 parameters and conceded that the Jordan Valley would be patrolled by international rather than Israeli troops. But by moving the goalposts, Netanyahu and other allies can insist that Abbas hasn’t truly embraced the two-state solution, even though Olmert, who intensively negotiated with Abbas for two years, insists that he has.