Hamas has, in fact, tried to receive arm shipments from the sea, only to be thwarted by Israel. If Hamas had succeeded, virtually every city in Israel would fall within range. Egypt, too, fears Hamas as a wing of the militant Muslim Brotherhood, and understands that the blockade is a matter of paramount national security. The Palestinian Authority also realizes that a resurgent Hamas poses a mortal threat to its survival and a certain end to the peace process.Since the Marmara episode, Israel has come under immense pressure to submit to an international inquiry Such a panel, drawn from countries hostile to Israel, could hardly be expected to be balanced. They would also violate Israel's right - indeed, its duty - as a democratic state to investigate itself. Still, the Israeli government is considering some degree of international consultation under an authoritative Israeli inquest. We are also open to ideas from the United States and other friendly nations on ways to address the needs of Gaza's population with Israel's vital security interests.We in Israel understand the difficulty of explaining our need to monitor the sea lanes to Gaza and maintain pressure on Hamas to free captured soldier [Gilad Shalit]. It is, to say the least, unpleasant to confront charges of piracy and violations of international law. We know that confronting Hamas is essential for our safety and for the success of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Because of our steadfastness, Hamas' popularity in Gaza has plummeted in recent months. That is a trend that, in spite of its costs, must be embraced by all who care about Israel and peace.
Ambassador Answers Some of World's Pressing Questions Michael Oren Jewish Exponent; Jun 10, 2010; 228, 11; Docstoc pg. 17 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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