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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 (77 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
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