Hamas All Smiles and Ready for Talks and Cash
“The previous Palestinian administration recognized Israel. And so? What was the result? Has anything changed?… It would be a mistake to insist that the problem is in the recognition (of Israel) by Hamas.”
— Hamas Spokesman Khaled Meshaal, 01Mar06
Amid consistent refusal to amend the Hamas charter explicitly calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, Hamas leaders now tighten their ties and button their jackets while saying nearly everything short of any such fundamental change in order to placate a Western international community seemingly unwilling to abandon funding for a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
Hedging their bets, Hamas has been playing to their Arab neighbors for financial support amid the questionable future of the cash supply traditionally received from the West. Incoming Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, called for support from members of the Arab League summit in Khartoum, Sudan. While he made calls for Arab contributions of $130 million per month, Khaled Meshaal reminded them that the Hamas-run PA requires upwards of $170 million to operate. While the Arab League has promised (as they have in the past) to draft a resolution pledging support, not many expect them to live up to their pledges (as they have also balked in the past). The Arab League is expected to pledge $55 million per month, but have a history of meeting only 30% of their stated pledges for Palestinians.
With little tangible support from their own Arab brothers expected, Hamas has begun to offer refined public words calling for new talks with The Quartet and the headlines that followed are predictably optimistic, including Hamas ready for international MidEast peace push and Hamas Gov’t Seeks Mideast Mediator Talks.
Hamas seeks the appearance of peace talks and the re-opening of the flow of international funding. Ask them about their chart, which still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Or, more readily visible, examine the quotes beneath the optimistic headlines.
Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyeh said first, “Our government will spare no effort to reach a just peace in the region, putting an end to the occupation and restoring out rights.”
He quickly followed that with an outrageous claim that Hamas has never supported terrorism, much less committed a terrorist act. “We have never been supporters of war, terrorism or bloodletting. Instead it is the Israeli occupation that waged all forms of terrorism against our people in chasing them out of their homeland, besieging it and starving it,” he then proclaimed.
Khaled Meshaal pointed a thinly veiled finger at his Arab brothers in the Arab League when he said, “We hope that our Arab brothers would provide this support and provide it quickly because unfortunately there has been a shortage and lack of commitment.”
Speaking to the new Hamas overtures to lure talks with The Quartet (EU, US, Russia, and the UN), Haniyeh added, “The government is ready for dialogue with the Quartet, and looking for every possible way to end the conflict and the occupation.”
Well, perhaps not every possible way. Two ways for Hamas to possibly end the conflict come to mind readily.
Perhaps Hamas leaders might consider arresting terrorists who murder or seek to murder Israeli (or any other) civilians, contrary to the pledge of the incoming Interior Minister Saeed Seyam who vowed to instead protect terrorists, proclaiming proudly, “Saeed Seyam did not come to the government to revive any security cooperation or to protect the occupation and their settlers. I came to protect our people and their fighters, to protect their trees, their properties and their capabilities.”
And, of course, Hamas might consider removing the call for the destruction of Israel. Not simply by removing the words from their printed charter, but more importantly by expunging it from their belief system and genuinely accept a two-state solution. Neither of these two things are likely to occur, though Iran-like gestures for ‘talks about talks’ will not be in short supply. As the openling quote from Khaled Meshaal illustrates, Hamas truly sees negotiation to be a dead-end proposition and recognition of Israel out of the question. Today’s gestures to the contrary are calculated for Western consumption. Indeed, Haniyeh tipped his own hand openly denying Hamas’ past or present support for terrorism.
So it is with great trepidation that Western observers should receive the news that Hamas is now seeking peace talks. The purpose of any such talks, in light of the two above very telling Hamas stances, is not to achieve any peace, but rather to resume the flow of international monetary relief in the form of massive cash grants.