For many in the UK, the nearest analogy to the Israel-Hamas conflict that comes to mind is Britains’s 80-year struggle against the Irish Republican Army (the IRA) and its offshoots.  On and off, the UK endured nearly a century of terrorist activity by people utterly ruthless in pursuit of their political aims but, against all the odds, the conflict was finally brought to an end through the attrition of the IRA’s military capability and a prolonged period of negotiation.

The question that people of some consequence in the UK are now asking repeatedly is, why cannot the same approach be applied to the Israeli-Hamas struggle?  Why will Israel not enter into discussion with the political leaders of Hamas, just as the British government instituted direct negotiations with the political leaders behind the IRA, and finally achieved a settlement?

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