The next time you read Ethan Bronner and he mentions the world “Hamas” with the required accompaniment, “which seeks the destruction of Israel” or some such nonsense, remember this report from Haaretz:
The Hamas militant group announced Monday that it had previously told the United States it would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, according to Israel Radio.
Citing the organization’s semi-annual report, Israel Radio said that Hamas had also asked the U.S. administration to open dialogue. The militant group said in its report that it had passed that message along via American academics and politicians visiting the Gaza Strip.
Hamas also said that it had asked Washington to lift the veto it had imposed on reconciliation efforts between the militant group and its rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.
What is especially interesting about this is that Hamas is putting the onus on the U.S. claiming that it is the one preventing Fatah from entering into talks on political reconciliation. If so, this once again shows the bankruptcy of Obama administration policy concerning Hamas. By going “all in” on Abbas and Fayyad, the U.S. has refused to recognize a player who cannot be ignored: Hamas.
I am not arguing that Hamas should be given veto power in any negotiation. I am arguing that Hamas much be dealt with in a deft way which Obama has shown no capacity or inclination to do.
An Arab newspaper (via Google Translation) quoted this passage from the report which contains a very interesting new opening by Hamas:
There is no opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state in 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital in order to achieve security for the Palestinian people and the return of refugees and compensation for their suffering and the release of all prisoners within the prisons…
While I don’t pretend to be an expert on Hamas, the italicized clause seems to be a new development in Hamas’ thinking about the Right of Return. This formulation is quite close to that of the Geneva Initiative, which calls for the Right of Return to be realized through a hybrid implementation: the physical return of a pre-agreed number of refugees to Israel proper and compensation paid to those who choose not to return.
Now, as for the Habarists who dredge up the Hamas covenant in order to rebut any glimmer of pragmatism within Hamas, I’ll take a semi-annual report written in 2010 over a document written by an anonymous scribe in 1988 in terms of telling me the current thinking of this movement. By the way, this isn’t the first time senior Hamas officials have said this as you can see from the results of this Google search.