In his first interview after leaving office, the former head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, admitted that he had erred in believing that Israel could come to some sort of accord with Hamas. In his own words:
I thought we had an arrangement. I wanted to believe that because of all the effort we put into bringing about times of peace that we desperately need here [in Israel] and there, [in Gaza], . . . I admit I believed—wholeheartedly believed—that if the residents of the Gaza Strip saw their wellbeing improve, . . . their motivation for crises and wars would decrease. It seems I was wrong. I was wrong.
Dan Schueftan observes:
Jews have been making this mistake for over a century. In the early years of statehood, Moshe Sharett, who would become the second prime minister of Israel, explained that Zionism was built entirely on national consciousness, not on getting Jews to feel that they are better off. Yet, when it came to Arabs that lived in Israel, it expected them to voice their opinions on the economy and progress, entirely ignoring the national problem.
The damage of such an outlook becomes greater when combined with an analytic and perceptual error that is prevalent among intellectuals who believe that pragmatic behavior indicates that the leaders are transitioning away from radicalism. . . . Such an assumption is based on a faulty understanding of radicalism and a lack of knowledge of world history.
Hizballah, Hamas, and the Iranian regime are radicals, even when they act pragmatically. Israel must deter them instead of “believing wholeheartedly” that their aggressive and violent nature can be changed if their standard of living improved.
More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Mossad