Have been doing some serious mulling recently and I thought I would get some insights from the peanut gallery.
A friend of mine posed the following questions:
Can a terrorist be rehabilitated?
Does a rehabilitated terrorist have the right to talk peace?
I would extrapolate from that another question:
Can a society be rehabilitated?
Now, if we Israelis believe that the answers to the above questions are "no" then clearly, there is no point and will never be any point in conducting negotiations with the Palestinians. At this point, and for the forseeable future, anyone who is anyone on the Palestinian political map is going to be someone who was, at one point or another, associated with terrorism or a group which supported its use.
On the flip side, this also means that the Palestinians really have very little to gain from renouncing terrorism. Which means that we Israelis stand to lose a lot.
Note: I am not suggesting here that I believe that the Palestinians have renounced terror or that any particular Palestinian ex-terrorist currently in a position of authority in Gaza or the West Bank has been rehabilitated. I am just thinking out loud, as it were and invite you to do the same.
Though--please do try to be polite!