I applaud Jimmy Carter for his courage, for engaging the leadership of Hamas in dialogue, for searching out any avenues for moving the peace process forward.
He has been criticized for meeting at all with Khalid Meshaal, by both the Bush administration and the Democratic presidential candidates. Dialogue should be absolutely contingent, they argue, on Hamas’ recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence. But it seems to me if the goal of a peace process is made a precondition to dialogue, then the process will surely go where it has always gone … nowhere.
Start talking! Explore options! Get the people who have a stake in the process — all the people who have a stake in the process — to start talking … and listening. The alternative is to draw lines in the sand (on both sides) and stake out intransigent positions (on both sides) and continue to be mired in the cycle of violence and misery that has plagued the peoples who live on this land for generation after generation after generation.