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Ex-Israel Intelligence chief Efraim Halevy calls for talks with Hamas: ‘There are worse options than Hamas’

July 15th, 2014
03:15 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The former Israeli Intelligence Minister called for negotiations with Hamas in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“Hamas is a very bad option, undoubtedly. But there are worse options than Hamas,” Efraim Halevy, former Mossad chief, said.

“And we already know what some of them might be, especially one of them: the ISIS – which is operating now in the northern Iraq and central Iraq – has its tentacles in the Gaza Strip too.”

Halevy said that just as in Europe, ISIS is recruiting in Gaza.

An Israeli cease-fire on Tuesday lasted six short hours; the Hamas rocket fire never stopped, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that attacks on Gaza be intensified.

It is “inconvenient politically,” Halevy said, for both Israel and Hamas to admit that they negotiate. But the truth, he said, is that they have already been doing it for years.

“We have coined a new method of diplomacy in the twenty-first century: we don’t meet with them, we don’t talk to them, but we listen to them. Each one listens to the other side. Somehow in the end an understanding is crafted.”

“We have had several rounds with Hamas in recent years, and the previous rounds ended up in agreements … arrangements, as it was called – ‘arrangements,’ not even agreements.”

“But in effect it was a negotiation between us and Hamas. When you had the deal on the kidnapped soldier Shalit, we negotiated with Hamas.”

The political inconvenience Prime Minister Netanyahu faces was exemplified by the actions of two people in his own government on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel should go “all the way” – re-occupy Gaza – and Netanyahu was forced to fire Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon for “fiercely attack[ing] the leadership of the country.”

“The Prime Minister wants to lead Hamas into a position where they will accept the cease-fire,” Halevy said.

“I do not detect for the moment any great appetite on the part of the Prime Minister to go at least in the immediate future into anything beyond air attacks and maybe here or there a ground skirmish.”

As for the dismissal of Danon, Halevy said he believes it was “long in the works.”

“I think what he did today was intolerable – to stand up and to criticize the Prime Minister in a time of war, the way he did. It’s something that cannot be accepted in any way.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said, wants to leave a “cowed Hamas, a weakened Hamas” in power in Gaza.

“Israel has no appetite to take over responsibility for the population in Gaza.”

READ MORE: Cease-fire effort collapses as rockets, airstrikes continue

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Name*sunday

    Dont tell me Israel is shaking in it's boots now ISIS is moving closer to home

    We all know the intention of ISIS as they want to make the whole of middle east as Islamic Caliphate.....oo dear! Nutin-yahu, will now be pronounced as Ibn-Bin-yahulah

    July 15, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • JohnathanA

      That fantasy of yours will never happen.

      July 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • wallstrwalker

      Let ISIS blow up the middle east. Let's start WWIII. Great times going forward!!

      July 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  2. Javed Iqbal

    What is UNO for? Activate it or deactivate it for ever.

    July 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      Only Active when they want.

      July 16, 2014 at 7:47 am | Reply
  3. JoeCartoon

    Europe Should keep a close eye on the events in the mid east.

    Muslims are coming "home" after helping ISIS .. and ultimately will aspire to overthrow the naive democratic Europe into a nation of Islam. .

    Europe weakness is not being able to interpret correctly the aggressive Muslim religion and will wake up trying to defend it only when too late.

    July 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  4. fusion

    Maybe talking to Hamas is the correct thing to do, but before any talks can happen, a ceasefire has to take place.
    Hamas has refused a ceasefire. it want more bloodshed.
    It almost looks like Hamas is interested in more Palestinian casualties. Israel will have no choice but try to stop those rockets while both Palestinians civilian human shields and Israeli civilians will continue to suffer.
    what do you do if Hamas wont stop its terrorist attacks? would you accept daily rocket fire on your family?

    July 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Arie Heide

      Only 1 Israeli death from Hamas "rockets"! Why so much noise for an single death ???

      July 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Reply
      • Tony

        This is not war this is Muder

        July 16, 2014 at 7:45 am |
  5. Tonny

    The only believe that count for people is Money,,money is going with every relegion,,wake up people this info is just ment to drift us more from eachother cnn this is bad wat you doing,,iJere in the Netherlands people start to hate israel the only voice they are hearing is there own voice and they will never lissen to others idea,s or opinions,from the day they kill jezus they wll never get any rest ,just lissen to the people and stop steal land and stop the killing ,but i think this will never end ,the only way to stop this is to trow out all the sitting elit with all the big ego,s ,good night

    July 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  6. Dima.

    Indeed. On the other hand, if ISIS does takes over in Gaza, they will give Israel so much legitimacy to annex it, its not even funny. On the other hand, as an Israeli, I want nothing to do with that hornet's nest, and a big fan of "lets big a reinforced border, cut all ties, passages and any infrastructure and let them be left alone" approach, if only they would stop firing missiles.

    July 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  7. bronorman

    Hamas should be pleased that Obama cannot support Israel, but if it does rally all the Muslims behind it, I am sure the Republicans will raise an uproar, storm the White House and make sure they win the next elections. Republicans behind the US will make sure that the enemies of Israel will be razed to the ground.

    July 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  8. reaper30

    the only thing hamass understands is strength i say crush them while you have the chance, this is the mideast play by hama rules

    July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  9. Darketernal

    I don't see why you would want to do business with any of them. Islam is a midieval war machine. You either believe what they say or you get killed. Iron tongue policy all the way. Religion is the problem, not the solution.

    July 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  10. curio6

    to understand why this conflict started we must back track to the disappearance of the 3 Israelis teenager. fist Israel assume that they were taken by Hamas and to search for these teenagers, they ransacked and destroyed Palestinian homes ( this will shown on BBC n CNN ) No other country in the world would have taken such inhumane action. These are already very poor people with very little and yet the soldiers just went in and destroyed what little the Palestinian had. To make matters worst, a Palestinian boy was abducted and burned ALIVE. Do you blame the Palestinians for reacting.?? Any country in the world would have also reacted the same way. They knew very well what they were against when they launched the rockets but desperate people take desperate action.! It is time for Israel to do some soul-searching too.

    July 15, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  11. JJ

    It's been said many times. No peace for Palestinians? No peace for Israel. And ISIS is not coming.. ISIS is already there.

    July 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  12. Name*Stafford Arthur Biggs

    Peace is ^Victory" with God.Isreal and Gaza God will bring peace to you.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  13. Sandra

    I disagree. If leadership is the problem, they have to know.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  14. Meme Nottoday

    Israel was aiding ISIS in Syria. What a tangled web.
    By providing free air support for the Syrian rebels, Israel is actually helping ISIS approach its goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Not too smart.

    July 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  15. Kenny

    Let both sides come together and seek Gods face!

    July 16, 2014 at 3:57 am | Reply
  16. hdq

    Talks with Hamas?
    The ex-intelligence cheif should know better than that.
    The conflict was not started by Hamas, it existed before Hamas came into existance. Nor was it stared by ISIS.
    The conflict was created by the UN, USA, and the European Powers who established the State of Israel on a land inhabited by Arabs. And the only way to stop this conflict is to acknowledge that. pay all the Palestinians compensation, and resettel themin the USA. And this will be the end of all this UN-US-Europe-created mess.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:04 am | Reply
  17. Elie

    Israeli greed and action on ground is creating lots and lots of radicalism. The whole area is going to change because no one dares to tell the israeli government to stop the illegal occupation and stop annexing land. This has been going for the last 47 years, and back then, Hamas did not even exist. Israel, with the help of the US and the European have created this radicalism and this violence. It seems that the same International law applies on all countries but not on Israel. Why is it that Israel does not abide by all the UN resolution for Palestine? I dont know why all the interviews you conduct with the Israeli officials are softer than when conducted with others. The recent one is an example. Palestinian did not start the fire. The Zionist movement started it with the help of the European by creating a country and not allowing the owners and inhabitant of that country to exist. Please, enough being biased and let us tackle and solve the problem from its roots.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:04 am | Reply
  18. Tony

    This is no war this is Murder, Israel is a war criminal

    July 16, 2014 at 7:43 am | Reply
  19. debill

    Gaza punished by the Middle East Bully who is supported by the World Bully. The cause of all Islamic militancy.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:48 am | Reply
  20. fred

    Danon fired, Yoplait rules.

    July 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  21. amarjeet

    It is a great and last opportunity for Hamas to join back with Palestine Leadership and compromise with Israel existence failing which both Palestine and Hamas leadership may loose to other emerging terrorists.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  22. Tracey

    Isreal have stolen almost everything from the Palestinians. Bad move to occupy Gaza. If they think the world is against them now. I hate zionist and everything they stand for.

    July 17, 2014 at 7:30 am | Reply
  23. USA First

    There can be no negotiation or compromise with those who practice or support violent jihad. They will lie to you and pretend to negotiate, but their goal is worldwide domination of the Muslim religion, and that never changes.

    July 17, 2014 at 8:14 am | Reply
  24. Matt

    True Hamas needs to run their own race, that is what Gerry Adams told them, people the Emir of Qatar, Erodgan and the Malaysian PM jump the gun on the Arab Spring and threatening Israel borders and using Hamas to do it. And other Jihadists. So if it not Iran as the puppet master it is someone else. The MB in Egypt is gone Mubarak was going to pass at some stage and Gamal was never going to rule, so what happened happened earlier but was inevitable, not that I like see a man who held peace in the region in a cage. As you can see Assad is still there and the US did not bomb and the WMD are gone. OP Cast Lead the IRA would not have survived but they had the US on side. That was an article in the Bel tele and something i spoke to Gerry about. I don't like doing these things and i never wanted to have to back. But this current op is cast lead lite.

    July 19, 2014 at 6:53 am | Reply
  25. Abi

    Your list shows your ignorance,,,,,
    I personally know dozens of muslims that live with people of other fiaths... Or are married to them... Including myself,,,

    My wife is catholic. I am sunni,,,, we have no issues and our families get along like anyone else,,, Do not stereotyoe the whole based on the actions of a few,,,,

    July 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  26. brian

    well said - I agree ...atheist me

    July 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  27. curio6

    I dun know where u got your stats but it is not true..!! let me give u some simple n honest examples – muslim in south east asia lives PEACEFULLY with the other races with different religious background eg Chinese, Indians, Eurasians etc. Muslims in Europe lives PEACEFULLY with Europeans of different religion PEACEFULLY

    July 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  28. knowthetruth

    your irrelevant post has no facts about real problem:

    I Totally agree with Ex-Israeli chief,
    Facts about conflict:
    1) Israel has forcefully occupied or stolen Palestinian land with the help of USA 67 years ago.

    1a) Settlers came from all over the world are enjoying lavish life style in the stolen land when the real owners (Palestinians) of the land are living below poverty line.

    2) Since Palestine land occupation by Israel, thousands of Palestinians have been massacred in the name of war on terror.

    3) USA has blocked (with its veto power) over 30 UNO resolutions that asks Israelis to end occupation and genocide.

    4) USA is providing billions of dollars every year and weapons of mass destructions (including nuclear technology) to bombard and kill innocent people and children of Palestine in the name of -so called- protecting its citizens and land, in reality the land was stolen long ago and the settlers are real gang of thieves. They are from different parts of the world oppressing aborigines of the land that living like imprisoned animals in their own land.

    5) Hamas or any other so called terrorist organizations in Palestine were formed
    after their land been occupied by Israelis. Their goal is to liberate their own
    land which is under illegal occupation with Israel since last 67 years…before
    land theft by Israel, there was no such (so called) terrorist organizations
    existed in Middle East.

    Personally I am in favor of peaceful solution of "Clinton&George Bush's road map" to end this long standing dispute..

    July 16, 2014 at 1:17 am | Reply
  29. knowthetruth

    In muslim gulf countries especially UAE including Dubai,most of the expatriates are non Muslims earning billions of dollars and sending to their own religious countries...most of them were living in that country since last many years without having any problem with muslims.

    July 16, 2014 at 1:34 am | Reply
  30. Jimmy

    What a BS. Read some history. Hindus and Buddhist has many wars. Jews and Christian you forgot holocaust what Palestinians are paying for. Christians can't live with anyone USA and Australia are example.

    July 16, 2014 at 2:55 am | Reply
  31. Tonny

    Are people still believe there goverments,or is it time for another big event made by the wealthy rich elite ,time for a total wake up now

    July 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  32. Tonny

    Are people still believe there goverments,or is it time for another big event made by the wealthy rich elite ,time for a total wake up now i do not accept another set up

    July 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  33. HereIAm

    LOL. What a joke. Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan..all have issues with Muslims. Other places such as Malaysia, Indonasia,.. have such 'equal treatment' towards non-Muslims...and wasn't there some issue in the UK recently with a soldier. and remind me the story of that cartoon in the video...

    July 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  34. chris

    When one follows the everyword of 'religious' or 'holy' book there will be problem. Even the scientific facts get modified with time and context. The 'holy' books are at best liberal sciences which contains the seeds of hatred towards others. The current problem of Muslim world would have been faced by the followers of other religion as well had they dogmatically accepted every word of it. There is hope that one day people will be able to find out the weak points and strong points of their holy books.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  35. Hsemar

    That's a joke. I'm a Malaysian. Here, the non Muslims have issues with the Muslims. Serious Issues...bordering apartheid...and it's getting worse. If had a better choice, would leave.

    July 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  36. udumb

    ever read the news out of china?

    July 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  37. Richard

    I quite agree with you Abi but I want to ask you what if it were the other way around that you were the wife and Sunni married to your husband a catholic and you lived in one of these rabid islamic states – what would happen? The problem is you may have good intentions and there may be many like you (perhaps even the majority) but at best you are just pipsqueakers. You take offence when non-muslims criticize you but you lack the courage to confront or say anything against muslims that come up against you. And muslims do come up against muslims now almost all over the islamic world leave alone the non-islamic world. So my point to you would be to wake up and get a 'big-picture' of what is happening – especially if you are a muslim lest you too be swept aside.

    July 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  38. kyawaung

    100% correct.

    July 16, 2014 at 1:11 am | Reply
  39. Nir

    Muslims live peacefully with others only when they are minority.
    In every nation they are majority, they use their power impose their religion on others.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:04 am | Reply
  40. Harry Juna

    Hi Omar, for me I knew that Jesus will come as the Great Judge during Judgement Day and I shall be safe because I accepted him as my savior. I shall be in Paradise with him of course with me leaving all my worldly my Paradise I praise & worship my creator & redeemer, I'm not hungry, not thirsty, no pain, no sickness, my love is genuine love and there is no more worldly activities. living like an Angel.

    July 16, 2014 at 12:44 am | Reply
  41. RAJ

    1 John 4:1-3 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (NKJV)

    John 3:16 :For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

    Acts 4:12 : Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
    Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV / 46 helpful votes
    EPH: 2:8,9
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    Pls accept jesus as your personal saviour. Even Muhammad can't enter salvation with out jesus. With your good deed can't justify before god. God is most holly and Most righteous. Your best deeds in this earth just like "wax before the sun". Also he is a great judge he will not violate his law. Jesus is sacrificial lamb of the world.

    July 16, 2014 at 4:08 am | Reply
  42. Imtias

    Heard about any Buddhist killed by Muslims in Sri Lanka. It is the other way around. Some extremist Buddhist gangsters called BBS are spewing communal hatred towards Muslims. The sole intention is to stomp the Muslims who is more in control of the local economy. Buddhists also feel that they have defeated Tamils in the island and to have the other minorities also should be defeated. It is the inferiority complex of the majority of this nation.

    July 17, 2014 at 2:02 am | Reply

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