In contrast, Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders in the 1980s stopped attempts by its military wing to attack white suburbs because they viewed it as catastrophically counterproductive.
If Sheik Yassin and the leaders of Hamas were genuinely pragmatists, they would realise that they could not possibly overcome the military determination of the Israelis. Proclaiming an end to the armed struggle and embarking on the political road, based on the rationality of a two-state system, would be threatening for the Israeli right. It would also allow the peace forces in Israel to recover and eventually oust Sharon from office.
Dr Colin Shindler
Soas, University of London