Thursday, May 29, 2008

Moving On Without Us

Slate has an interview with the leader of Hamas. It contains a number of notable statements.....

Mishaal was all about divining the recent momentous events in the region: Israeli-Syria peace talks brokered by Turkey and an agreement, mediated by Qatar, to avert a new Lebanese civil war.

Both deals, seemingly concluded without U.S. involvement and counter to the Bush administration's policies, will affect Palestinian politics.

"The question has been asked," says Mishaal, "why did the Arabs move because of Lebanon, but they can't do this for the Palestinians?" He was referring to the successful compromises that sealed the Lebanon deal, a model of what Mishaal called a "no-win, no-lose" formula where local adversaries agree to share power. "This is what we want internally—reconciliation on the Palestinian side."

After the Syria-Israel talks were confirmed last week, former Syrian Information Minister Mahdi Dahlallah was quoted as saying that if there is a peace agreement, "There will no longer be any need for resistance," a reference to Hezbollah in Lebanon but also to Hamas.

Despite the Bush administration's warning against "appeasing extremists" through dialogue, Hamas has had a flurry of contacts in the waning months of the Bush administration. Mishaal confirmed that the French government has opened a political dialogue with Hamas, despite a rebuke from Washington. There is also "communication" with other European countries, he said.

Even Israel is talking to Hamas, with Egypt serving as the go-between in indirect negotiations over a cease-fire in Gaza.

Mishaal dismissed the prospects of progress on Palestinian issues during the remainder of Bush's term.

The Arab countries there are tired of fighting, and can make peace deals with each other when motivated, with or without us. It's only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that really needs us, and everyone is waiting for Bush and his gang of idiots to be replaced by someone who is willing to facilitate real negotiations. Of course, an Israeli government not under threat of indictment would help,too. Then there's this regarding the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, the last Prime Minister who tried peace........

A recent poll showed that 26 per cent of Israelis – and 42 per cent who define themselves as religious – support freeing Amir after he has served 20 years, in eight years’ time.

There's a long way to go.

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