Can the leopard change his spots?

Khalid Meshaal said today that the upcoming regional conference on peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will be “a failure.” That’s hardly surprising fare coming from the radical political leader of Hamas, who lives in Damascus under Syrian protection. Meshaal’s comments may signal that Hamas will do its utmost to ensure—by launching terrorist attacks in ...

599732_070827_meshaal_05.jpg
599732_070827_meshaal_05.jpg

Khalid Meshaal said today that the upcoming regional conference on peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will be "a failure." That's hardly surprising fare coming from the radical political leader of Hamas, who lives in Damascus under Syrian protection. Meshaal's comments may signal that Hamas will do its utmost to ensure—by launching terrorist attacks in Israel—that the conference does, in fact, end in failure. And that very well may happen. But this time, Meshaal didn't reject the very concept of negotiating with Israel. In fact, it sounds like he wants to be included:

... Meshaal said Washington, which supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, would eventually realize it would have to deal with Hamas for the sake of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"I only want to tell them to take a short cut and not waste their efforts," he said, while acknowledging that a U.S. invitation to Hamas to attend the upcoming conference was unlikely.

Khalid Meshaal said today that the upcoming regional conference on peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will be “a failure.” That’s hardly surprising fare coming from the radical political leader of Hamas, who lives in Damascus under Syrian protection. Meshaal’s comments may signal that Hamas will do its utmost to ensure—by launching terrorist attacks in Israel—that the conference does, in fact, end in failure. And that very well may happen. But this time, Meshaal didn’t reject the very concept of negotiating with Israel. In fact, it sounds like he wants to be included:

… Meshaal said Washington, which supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, would eventually realize it would have to deal with Hamas for the sake of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“I only want to tell them to take a short cut and not waste their efforts,” he said, while acknowledging that a U.S. invitation to Hamas to attend the upcoming conference was unlikely.

Meshaal called on the international community to deal with “the reality of the Palestinian arena” — an apparent reference to Hamas’s strong influence — and move the Middle East closer to “genuine peace” in which “the waterfall of blood will stop”.

Is this just posturing on Meshaal’s part? It might be, since the Hamas leader knows he won’t be invited to the table. On the other hand, it might be a sign that Meshaal and his Syrian sponsors are more pragmatic than they seem. But with Israel’s internal-security services warning of major new attacks and Hamas leaders sending mixed signals, I’d bet Meshaal is posturing. Expect bombings.

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