The Israel government insisted the only solution to dealing with rocket attacks from Gaza was to invade the area and employ a strong hand approach which would result in large numbers of deaths. It is now revealed that Hamas attempted to conduct secret talks with the Israel government in the weeks leading up to the invasion. Senior officials in Hamas were ready to enter into negotiation with Israel due to their increasing frustration with Egypt’s role as a mediator that apparently were going nowhere. Gershon Baskin, a veteran Israeli peace activist and a member of the family of Prime Minister Olmert were at the center of these efforts. A major issue in addition to rocket attacks was the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and Baskin said he tried three times to get discussions about these issues but the Israel government would not cooperate. Baskin tried to open secret talks and link a prisoner exchange that would involve Shalit as well as establish a cease fire.
Bashkin’s efforts extended for months and at times his efforts were blocked by Hamas and at other times by the Olmert government. He had excellent connections with Hamas but they were never used by the Israel government. As the crisis deepened he involved a member of the Olmert family but was not able to get the government to hold off on the invasion and the result was death and destruction.
Any human life is precious and no one with any sense of decency would allow a person to die without being concerned. A single Israel soldier’s life is as important as a single life of a Muslim person. Cease fire should have been the major thrust of peace negotiations, not the life of a single person. That might come across as cruel and insensitive, but 1,300 humans died in the Gaza invasion including a dozen Israelis.