From a very interesting article by Shlomi Eldar on Al-Monitor, which is a very useful source of information if you follow what’s going on in the Middle East:
“Reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is stuck, because right now the United States has left Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations,” he said. Marzouk said that because his movement continues to be included on the list of “pariah organizations,” at least as far as the US is concerned, Abu Mazen finds himself in the shadow of an American threat. Should the Palestinian Authority take any steps measures to advance reconciliation with Hamas, the United States would turn off all financial aid, which now stands at $450 million per annum. “That’s a lot of money,” Marzouk added. “Abu Mazen can’t allow that.”
While it is questionable whether the United States is really threatening Abu Mazen, senior members of the Palestinian Authority have expressed an interest in advancing reconciliation with the Hamas government. They claim that as long as Hamas remains on the terror list, Israel has a solid alibi to avoid any diplomatic efforts to advance negotiations.
It is quite obvious that in the foreseeable future, the United States will not remove Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations. What Hamas is depending on, however is the more distant future, when its removal from the list could be considered, at least as far as the Americans are concerned, in exchange for some noteworthy move, such as Hamas recognizing Israel. Such steps would advance the diplomatic process in the Middle East.
But beyond this practical consideration, what is distinct about Hamas’ latest move is its underlying intent. This is yet another indication that the movement’s leader are serious about transforming Hamas from a terrorist group that controls a piece of land (which is how it is perceived today) into a serious and responsible movement that is fit to run a state. The most recent move can then be seen as the direct continuation of an interview given a month and a half ago to the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq. As Al-Monitor published back then, the Saudi newspaper reported that Meshaal authorized King Abdullah of Jordan to relay a message to Obama, stating that Hamas is prepared to accept the principle of a two-state solution, or to state it even more clearly, Hamas agrees to the 1967 borders. This lies in stark contrast to the familiar ideology proclaimed by Hamas, or at least it seemed that way until now.
If Hamas really is considering recognition of Israel, that’s a development that needs to be taken seriously. The complexities of figuring out how it would actually happen, however–what, for example, would be required for Israel to accept such recognition?–are a whole other question. In any event, the whole article is worth reading, as is the entire Al-Monitor site.
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