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Hamas’s Rationalism! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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After meeting Hamas chief Khalid Mishal in Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he noticed that the movement is taking “a more realistic evaluation of the situation” while also confirming the need to maintain the current calm in Gaza. In other words the Russian Minister hopes that Hamas will continue not to fire rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, establishing a clam that has not been witnessed in Gaza for a long time.

Was there anything in the Russian official’s statement to cause surprise?

Of course not! We still remember Khalid Mishal’s interview with The New York Times in which he said that Hamas had issued orders to halt the firing of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, claiming that the movement was able to enforce this decision not only on its own members, but also with regards to other groups. Mishal also pointed out that Hamas is currently undergoing a process of reviewing the firing of rockets [into Israel], which is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Mishal was also quoted by the American newspaper as saying that the most important thing is to serve Palestinian objectives.

The statements made by Mishal to The New York Times were immediately denied after the newspaper’s publication; however Hamas issued this denial on its own website, rather than directly taking this up with the American newspaper and calling for a retraction.

The Russian Foreign Minister’s statement from Damascus confirms what was reported by The New York Times and so the question here is; has Hamas, and particularly the movement’s leader Khalid Mishal, become rational, or is this just [political] maneuvering?

Is the Hamas movement aware of the enormity of what it has perpetrated against the Palestinians, and particularly against the people of Gaza? Or is the Hamas movement simply seeking to consolidate its position as an authority that the international community must engage with [if it wishes to address the Palestinian issue] rather than the Palestinian Authority? Especially since the Obama administration has made a major push towards advancing the peace process in the region, and there is an Arab desire to stimulate this. Even Syria, who are playing host to Khalid Mishal, do not deny their desire to advance the peace process.

Therefore if the Americans, Europeans, and Russians want to know whether Hamas is truly rational and has accepted responsibility towards the Palestinians and their cause then this cannot be measured in words, or by the halting of rocket fire. The main test of whether Hamas is being honest and is truly committed [to this] can be seen with the success of inter-Palestinian dialogue, and setting right the outcomes of the Gaza coup which fragmented the Palestinian cause, and weakened its negotiating position otherwise this can only be described as [political] maneuvering, and an attempt to establish [political] authority.

If Hamas believes that resistance is a legitimate option, do not have faith in the peace process, and do not want to acknowledge the agreements made by the Palestinian Authority, then the question is; what does Hamas want to negotiate on?

What the Palestinians and the Arabs need is the foundation of the Palestinian state, if Hamas do not want to see the establishment of a Palestinian state, why do they not announce this?

However if the movement does want to see the establishment of a Palestinian state then the question is; Why is there inter-Palestinian conflict and division?