Negotiate? With whom?

Negotiate? With whom?

I read with interest the JTA article, “On the Table? Netanyahu suggests flexibility on Jerusalem” (July 15).

If Israel wants to negotiate a dual state with the Palestinians having a capital in east Jerusalem, I am supportive.  I question, however, when is the appropriate time, and with whom.

Before Israel sits down at the table for peace talks, shouldn’t it be determined first who represents the Palestinian people in such negotiations?  Is it Abbas, who was the elected president of the Palestinian Authority, or is it Hamas, a terrorist group that has taken over Gaza? Let them figure that out first, and then come to the table.

Also, with the Palestinian track record, how can Israel trust them?  With Hamas throwing bombs at Sderot and digging tunnels into Egypt to transport weapons, we certainly can’t trust them! If east Jerusalem becomes the capital of a Palestinian state, can we trust that they won’t begin bombing French Hill and other neighborhoods, which are right in the vicinity?  And Abbas has no control over them whatsoever.

Netanyahu might consider returning the Golan Heights as a “goodwill gesture,” but what’s to stop Hamas from shooting down at the kibbutzim below?  How about them returning Gilad Shalit as a goodwill gesture?

Then Israel can sit down to negotiate.

Nita Polay Levin

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