If today's reports are correct, then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not meet or negotiate with Hamas until they have agreed to certain conditions. These conditions are 'It must disarm, annul its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, and accept all the agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority with Israel.'
Although a lot of people will claim that Israel is trying to bully the Palestinians, these conditions are quite fair. All Israel is basically saying is, stop killing us and seeking our ultimate destruction, then we can talk. Any group one negotiates with, surely the first proviso should be the right to live of the two negotiating parties. What is there to negotiate after the first basic right, before any other rights, the right to life is even non-negotiable. It defies belief that there are people, organisations and even countries who are saying that Hamas can be a partner for peace in its current guise. The excesses of Fascism and Communism of the last century prove that there are people or groups you just can't negotiate with.
Let's hope that the Olmert will stand by these principles even against the inevitable pressure that will arise from the world community. I also hope that Olmert's words are not just electioneering and if he retains his seat after the elections there will not be back-channel negotiations, a la Oslo, until these demands are met.
The Israeli Government must never negotiate with our right to live. There will come a time when many items and boundaries will be negotiated over and both sides will have to make some hard decisions. Before this time Israel, and its citizens, have to know that whatever is decided our ultimate destruction is still not sought.