The Counterpoint

December 03, 2004

Hamas policy shift?

Captain Ed carries this AP story that suggests a policy shift in the radical terrorist organization Hamas:

In an apparent change in long-standing policy, a top Hamas leader said Friday the militant group would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as a long-term truce with Israel.

"Hamas has announced that it accepts a Palestinian independent state within the 1967 borders with a long-term truce," Sheik Hassan Yousef, the top Hamas leader in the West Bank, told The Associated Press, referring to lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
I would agree with the general consensus that this is a big question-mark. I am likely not the only one reluctant to put a lot of faith in the claims of terrorists, but if they aren't conning us -- that is, if their intentions truly are what Yousef has stated -- then we may be closer to peace than we previously imagined (not that that says a whole lot).

Two things from the article that I found interesting:

"Yousef did not spell out the conditions for the renewable cease-fire nor did he say how long it would last."
Maybe it's just my cynicism, but I wonder if there is going to be some type of catch that he doesn't want to reveal yet. I don't believe a shift this monumental could happen just like that.

Yousef said Hamas, which said Wednesday it would boycott the January vote, was planning to participate in Palestinian politics. It had previously shunned any role in the Palestinian Authority because the governing body was created under interim peace accords with Israel that Hamas rejected.

"Hamas wants to join the Palestinian political leadership and there are meetings over this issue," he said. "Hamas being a part of the political equation means Hamas will deal with the other party (Israel)."
Could this just be a political ploy? I am not sure what the mass opinion of the region is regarding Hamas and other terrorist groups, but perhaps Hamas is just drifting towards the center to gain a real political foothold before reverting back to their longstanding policy of "die Israel, die!" (or some rough equivalent thereof)?

Anyway, go read Ed's entire post for much more analysis, including thoughts a second shift by Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.


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