Hamas is seeing cracks in America’s strict attitude toward the terror group and has recently engaged in dialogue with some U.S. officials, a senior Hamas leader claimed to this column.
“American attitudes against speaking with Hamas are not so tough anymore. We have seen the opening of channels of dialogue between the U.S. and Hamas,” said the Hamas leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Hamas leader would not specify which U.S. officials were allegedly in contact with Hamas, whether the purported officials were members of the Bush administration or involved with presidential candidates, or whether that alleged contact was direct on indirect.
Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel, has made major headway this past year in breaking Israel’s attempt to isolate the terror group. In April 2008, former president Jimmy Carter met with Hamas’s most senior leadership in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Syria in a move widely seen as the first major breach in the wall of isolation.
Immediately after Carter’s meeting, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed that Paris held talks with Hamas and Norway’s deputy foreign minister, Raymond Johansan, admitted meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
In a previous exclusive interview with this correspondent, Hamas’s chief political adviser in Gaza, Ahmed Yousef, said he “hoped” Sen. Barack Obama is elected and expressed optimism “the Democrats will change the political discourse.”
Livni Promises To Release
More Palestinian Prisoners
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has promised the Palestinian Authority that if she becomes prime minister one of her first acts in office will be to free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, a senior PA source told WorldNetDaily.
Following Livni’s victory by just 431 votes in her party’s primary elections last month – elections fraught with charges of fraud – she has been formally tasked with forming a stable governing coalition. That means if she can recruit enough political parties to maintain a plurality of the Knesset’s 120 seats, she would finish out Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s term in office, becoming prime minister in his place until new elections are held as scheduled late next year.
Two weeks ago, Livni held a meeting with chief PA negotiator Ahmed Kurei during which she reportedly stressed that she will continue intense negotiations and promised that if she forms the new Israeli government, there will be no conditions or obstacles to continue what she termed the peace process.
A senior PA source told WND that Livni also pledged during meetings with Palestinian negotiators that if she becomes premier, she would, as a sign of good will toward PA President Mahmoud Abbas, immediately release between 200-250 Palestinian prisoners from Abbas’s Fatah organization.
PA Treating a ‘Palestinian Jerusalem’
As Fait Accompli
In recent weeks the Palestinian Authority has stepped up the number of official meetings in Jerusalem discussing future Palestinian sovereignty over key sections of the city, WND has learned.
A senior PA official, speaking from Ramallah, claimed there was a “tacit agreement between Israel and the PA, nothing official, but it is understood on both sides that we can hold meetings in Jerusalem in anticipation of a deal offering us Jerusalem.”
Dmitri Ziliani, a spokesman for the Jerusalem section of the Fatah party, said the recent meetings in Jerusalem were related to the activities and structure of Fatah’s local command in eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Ziliani said the regular PA meetings in Jerusalem are, in part, held in anticipation of a future Palestinian state encompassing most of eastern Jerusalem.
According to Israeli law, the PA cannot officially meet in Jerusalem. The PA previously maintained de facto headquarters in Jerusalem, called Orient House, but the building was closed down by Israel in 2001 following a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Israel said it had information indicating the House was used to plan and fund terrorism.
Senior PA negotiators claim that U.S.-backed talks led by Foreign Minister Livni involve all core issues, including Jerusalem, and that Israel and the Palestinians are discussing specific eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”