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Two Interviews with Hamas Expert Shlomi Eldar

This summer I am in Israel, so the current situation is occupying me quite a lot recently. If you are interested in reading more politically oriented commentary of mine, you can follow me on Twitter. That being said, I decided that politics had to make an appearance on this blog at the present time.

There are few people in the world who have devoted so much time to researching and getting to know Hamas than the Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar. He has probably spent more time with Hamas leaders than any other journalist and has authored one of the most important books on the history and politics of Hamas, להכיר את חמאס. The book is available for purchase in America here and in Israel here. Since last summer Eldar has been a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center, so you may be able to see him being interviewed on American TV. He is also a columnist at Al-Monitor, and you can find his recent columns here.

I highly recommend Eldar’s analysis for two reasons: 1. Very few people know as much about Hamas as he does; 2. He has been critical of Israel in the past and has written about mistakes that he thinks Israel has made; 3. Anyone familiar with his work would have difficulty saying that he does not care about the Palestinians living in Gaza.

That being said, below are two interviews that he recently gave to the Israeli radio station Galei Tzahal. In both of them Eldar claims that while different options may have been available in the past, at present, the best course of action for Israel is to hit Hamas hard enough militarily that it will be unable to continue to rule in Gaza. He is aware of all of the counter arguments and the tragic human cost of the continued fighting, but he feels that given the current reality on the ground, this is Israel’s best option. The interviews are in Hebrew, but his ideas can be found in English in these columns.

If you are having trouble with the embedded audio, they can be listened to here and here.

Update: Here is another interview with Eldar from Israel Radio-Reshet Bet.

4 Responses to “Two Interviews with Hamas Expert Shlomi Eldar”

  1. 1
    David:

    Thanks for the pointers!

    “rule in israel” seems to be a typo for “rule in Gaza”

  2. 2
    Menachem Mendel:

    DF, Thanks. Although Hamas would also like to “rule in Israel.”

  3. 3
    Harry Perkal:

    I am not impressed with his articles. He is good with the trees and not the forest. The big picture is that there was a way to isolate Hamas but Netanyahu chose not only to sabotage the peace process, his government constantly demonized Abbas. The continued occupation is the real problem. And this not even considering Netanyahu’s responsibility in recent events; such as arresting Hamas sympathizers in the West Bank after the murder of the three Yeshiva students while he fully knew that the leadership of Hamas had nothing to do with it and that the students were already dead. Even his sabotaging of the Palestine Authority agreement with Hamas was self=defeating. That was a golden opportunity to isolate Hamas. But he could not work with Abbas since Netanyahu has no desire to allow an independent Palestine State in the West Bank, He even essentially admitted this in a recent news conference. So the bottom line is regardless of the expertise Eldar has on Hamas, in my opinion he misses the larger picture.

  4. 4
    Menachem Mendel:

    Harry,

    Eldar is very clear that Israel made mistakes in the past, he even wrote that Israel should take a more positive view of the PA-Hamas agreement, but he stresses that given what the reality is now, not what it was in the past, this is what he thinks has to be done. In reality, he agrees with you on many of your points and might agree with your statement “The big picture is that there was a way to isolate Hamas,” with an emphasis on “there WAS a way,” although in the interviews he also admitted that his approach in the past may have been wrong, but he thinks that it was worth the try.

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