Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease fire which will take effect today, but the war of words between the parties will not cease any time in the near future. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel warned the truce was “fragile and likely to be short-lived” while Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, warned if Israel does not live up to the agreement, his organization will respond with violence. Israel expects an end to rocket attacks and Hamas expects free movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza strip.
Although, his government has just concluded an agreement which offers a possibility of an end to violence, Prime Minister Olmert could not offer any word of encouragement about the agreement. “Hamas has not changed its skin. These are blood thirsty and despicable terrorists who even today are doing all they can to harm Israel civilians.”
Perhaps, it is asking too much of either party to soften the rhetoric of hate and offer people hope of peace. It might be helpful for Israel to make some dramatic offer of friendship such as inviting Hamas intellectuals to a dialogue on how to achieve peace between the two groups. Or, offering use of Israel hospital facilities for Hamas patients in need of high quality medical treatment. The words of peace may fail, but if never uttered no one will ever know if they could make an impact.