Hamas’ Mashaal feels the pinch, sends Obama kisses

Posted: May 29, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Palestinians, Peace Process, Terrorism
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Khaled Mashaal and Hassan Nasrallah. Share same goal. Hamas’ exiled leader Khaled Mashaal blamed Israel and the United States for a standstill in talks for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The failure of the talks – says Mashaal – is the result of Israel’s reluctance to negotiate, and of US’ support for the Zionist Entity:

"Israel is the obstacle in the face of peace in the region and the United States of America, morally and politically, has to deal with this reality and not put pressure on the Palestinian or the Arab side," Meshal argued.

Meshal also criticized the U.S. for not holding direct talks with the Hamas and questioned whether U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell could succeed in his mission to bring peace to the region without the Hamas.

(Haaretz)

AS WITH HIS previous New York Times interview, Mashaal puts on a pragmatic mask, telling the West his movement accepts the 1967 borders and is willing to compromise if the international community pressures Israel into concessions. His minions, however, tell a different story:

 

While interviewed by Times’ Paul McGeough, Mashaal outright states Hamas will not alter its charter, which calls for destruction of Israel:

On the crucial question of rewriting the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, he was unbending: “Not a chance.” Khalid Mishal is not Yasir Arafat — he is not looking for a Nobel Peace Prize. Among the Hamas articles of faith is a belief that in renouncing violence and in recognizing Israel’s right to exist in 1993, Mr. Arafat sinned against his people.

(New York Times)

However, it gets much worse for Israelis: while Western reporters prance around Mashaal’s ‘good-boy-mask’ he himself tells a different story. As international press reports Hamas’ willingness to accept Israel in 1967 borders, nothing could be farther from the truth, as evident from this report:

The leader of Hamas said Monday that his Palestinian militant group would offer Israel a 10-year "hudna," or truce, as implicit proof of recognition of Israel if it withdrew from all lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East War.

Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press that he made the offer to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in talks on Saturday. "We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition," Mashaal said.

Mashaal said Hamas would accept a Palestinian state limited to the lands Israel seized in 1967 — that is, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. But he said the group would never outright formally recognize Israel.

(MSNBC)

So while US and European diplomats push their respective governments to talk to Hamas, the group actually says it will neither recognize Israel as a Jewish state, nor will it stop fighting it, instead proposing a ‘truce’, allowing radical Palestinian militants to rearm and redeploy around smaller Jewish state.

There is a distinct reason for Mashaal making a happy face for Western cameras. Mashaal received distress signals from his brothers in Gaza, with his local terrorist Ismail Haniyeh feeling endangered by lack of funds and arms. With Egypt clamping down on smuggling and Israel allowing through only the necessities, Mashaal feels he might lose control of Gaza – Hamas’ last stronghold. If Haniyeh loses Gaza, Hamas would have no home, scattered about Palestinian population. Mashaal couldn’t care less about Haniyeh’s comfort from his Damascus luxury, but he knows result of Gazan turning on Hamas would be disastrous.

As he cannot talk directly to Israel – thus betraying his followers – Mashaal’s only option is to pressure international community, while saving his face by ‘threatening’ the powers. One would think that by now, the international community couldn’t care less about his people losing control. Hamas’ only chance of reaching the world is to start another confrontation with Israel – and Mashaal knows this time they will lose all.

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