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Should Israel Talk to Hamas?

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008

A debate is raging in Israel over what to do to stop the relentless attacks on Israeli civilians launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza. On Wednesday, 30 rockets slammed into Israel, killing a college student and injuring several others. Just a few days earlier, another barrage into the beleaguered town of Sderot injured a mother, her baby and her 10-year-old son, whose arm was partially severed by the blast. A couple of weeks before that, an 8-year-old Israeli boy lost his leg to a rocket attack from Gaza. The urgency of the problem is clear, but the search for a solution poses wrenching dilemmas.

The rocket attacks started in 2000, but they became much worse after Israel withdrew all Jewish settlers in 2005, and then even more intense after Hamas seized control of the territory last year. Israeli security officials say Hamas is growing stronger, fortified by Iranian help and by an influx of al-Qaida fighters who walked in after Hamas breached the border wall with Egypt. ...

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