Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


« The Iran Crisis (Day 16): What to Watch For Today | Main | Video: Obama-Merkel Press Conference (26 June) »

Israel-Palestine: Hamas' Meshaal Makes His Move

Israel-Palestine: How Netanyahu Demolished the Plan A of the Peace Process

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS- SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED

Khaled_MeshaalImage4In a televised statement on Thursday, Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal rejected Israel’s peace proposal while hailing the US President Barack Obama’s “new language.”

With reconciliation talks with Fatah due to take place in Cairo on Sunday, Meshaal’s pragmatic speech should be interpreted as another links in a chain of moves to strengthen Washington’s hand and to put more pressure on Israel. Nevertheless, Meshaal did not bring any new ideas to the table but repeated Hamas' rhetorical position.

Meshaal took apart the recent speech by the Israeli Prime Minister, “The [Palestinian] state that Netanyahu talked about, with control on it by land, sea and air, is a freak entity and a big prison, not a country fit for a great people… Mr. Netanyahu offered merely self-governance under the name of a country”

As for Netanyahu's demand for Palestinians recognition of Israel, Meshaal responded: “The enemy's leaders call for a so-called Jewish state is a racist demand that is no different from calls by Italian Fascists and Hitler's Nazism.”

Meshaal offered no change in Hamas’s current political position, rejecting the demands of the US-EU-UN-Russia Quartet, “Dealing with Hamas and Palestinian resistance movements must be based on respecting the will of the Palestinian people and its democratic choice, not through putting conditions, such as those of the quartet” He continued to stand upon "the establishment of a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, that has full sovereignty on the borders of 4 June 1967; the removal of all settlements; and the achievement of the right of return".

Having drawn a firm line against any movement towards Israel, Meshaal then praised Obama with a message for "the sake of the reconciliation talks":: “We appreciate Obama's new language towards Hamas. And it is the first step in the right direction towards a dialogue without conditions, and we welcome this.”

This is not the first time that Hamas has mentioned talks with the US but on an unconditional basis. On 11 June, Meshaal told the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, “Obama says he will turn a new page in the region and begin a dialogue with the Iranians and with the Syrians unconditionally… If so, why is he placing conditions on Hamas?”

The question is whether Washington takes up Meshaal's rhetoric to put pressure on Israel. The Obama Administration has left open that possibility: when it asked Congress to allow continued aid to Palestinians, it said this was possible even if officials linked to Hamas become part of the government after reconciliation talks.

If the Cairo discussions proceed, the Obama Administration might use Meshaal’s message as leverage in the event that Israel does not move beyond symbolic developments, such as Thursday's declaration that it is reducing the number of its soldiers in four West Bank.

On then to Egypt: this time the seemingly endless cycle of stop-start discussions may have significance.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>