A senior Hamas official claims Hamas held a meeting in the Gaza Strip several months ago with aides to President-elect Barack Obama, but the terror group was asked to keep the contacts secret until after last week’s elections.
Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’s chief political adviser in Gaza, told the Al-Hayat Arabic-language newspaper that Hamas maintains regular communication with Obama aides.
“We were in contact with a number of Obama’s aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign and be used by Republican candidate John McCain [to attack Obama],” Yousef told Al-Hayat. Yousef recently gave this column a series of interviews in which he praised Obama. Last week, he called Obama’s win a “historic victory” for the world and told this column that Hamas was sending a letter of congratulation to the president-elect. Yousef said he believes an Obama administration will be more willing to engage in dialogue with Hamas.
Obama’s senior foreign policy adviser, Denis McDonough, said of the claimed Hamas meeting: “This assertion is just plain false.”
Obama To Go Easy On Syria
Representatives of Obama recently told Syrian officials that Obama supports ending their county’s isolation and that as president he would work to bring Damascus into the international community, a Syrian diplomatic source told WorldNetDaily.
The source said the pledges were made this past summer in a meeting in Washington, D.C., between Obama’s policy aids and Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha. The source said Moustapha was asked at the time by Obama’s camp not to comment on the meeting.
The source said Moustapha was told that Obama favors engagement and economic cooperation with Syria as opposed to the Bush administration’s policy of isolating the country and imposing economic sanctions.
The source also disclosed Obama’s team said the president-elect favors talks between Israel and Syria leading to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
The information comes at a time when U.S.-Syrian relations seem to be reaching a low point following a U.S. military raid on Syrian soil last month that reportedly targeted elements of a robust foreign fighter logistics network operating from Syria and planning attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Also this week, it was revealed that United Nations investigators have found traces of uranium at a site in Syria bombed last year by Israel.
Jewish Temples Never Existed, Says Qurei
The Jewish Temples never existed and Israel has been working to “invent” a Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem, the chief Palestinian negotiator has asserted.
Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinian Authority official leading all peace talks with the Jewish state, made the controversial statements last week in a small media briefing attended by this reporter as well as by a Palestinian media outlet and an Arab affairs correspondent for a major Israeli newspaper. The Israeli publication decided not to print Qurei’s comments.
Qurei said “Israeli occupation authorities are trying to find a so-called Jewish historical connection” between Jerusalem and the [Temple Mount], “but all these attempts will fail. The [Temple Mount] is 100 percent Muslim.”
“There is nothing Jewish about the Al Aksa Mosque. There was no so-called Jewish Temple. It’s imaginary. Jerusalem is 100 percent Muslim.” He continued, “The Arab world is called to interfere to stop the Israeli plans in Jerusalem, to stop the Israeli attempts to create a Jewish character to Jerusalem and the Al Aksa mosque. Also to the Old City, which is the first step in the war to defend Jerusalem and Al Aksa.”
Qurei added: “They are competing against time in order to create facts on the ground in the surrounding the imaginary Temple.”
Fatah Talks Peace Then Launches Rocket
Just one day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas committed last Sunday at a major summit to continue peace negotiations with Israel, his Fatah party launched a rocket at a Jewish city.
Members of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the declared military wing of Fatah, called WND to take responsibility for the attack. They claimed it was carried out to protest a Hamas clampdown on Fatah plans to hold a memorial ceremony for the late PLO Leader Yasir Arafat.
Security sources familiar with the Fatah attack told WND it was more likely that Abbas’s group was attempting to postpone an Israeli decision to allow limited fuel supplies into Gaza starting today. Fatah, the sources said, figured that power blackouts in Gaza would prompt popular unrest and anger on the street toward the territory’s Hamas rulers. Hamas last summer seized complete control of Gaza from Fatah.
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.”