ForeignPolicy.com has just published an op-ed piece written by former United States President Jimmy Carter and former Ireland President Mary Robinson. The piece is titled "How To Fix It," and is in large part a scathing criticism of Israel.
The piece condemns the actions of Israel in recent weeks and offers some possible solutions to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Most importantly, they believe that Hamas must be respected and recognized as the leading political actor in Gaza.
As for specific solutions, Carter and Robinson write, "First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid."
This solution puts quite a bit of faith in Hamas, but this does not seem to worry Carter or Robinson. Later in the piece, the two write:
"The international community's initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU (European Union) should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force."
They continue, "Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor -- one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people -- can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons."
The solution to this problem may not be as simple as Robinson and Carter suggest. The deep-rooted hatred between Hamas and Israel is such that neither side feels safe existing so closely to the other.
The New York Daily News points out, "As recently as 2012, in an August sermon, Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, called all Muslims to jihad: 'Why? In order to annihilate those Jews.' He goes on, 'Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.'"