Hamas Says It Has Halted Rocket Strikes on Israel, Backs Two-State Solution
4 May 09 | NYT
The leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas said Monday that its fighters had stopped firing rockets at Israel for now. He also reached out in a limited way to the Obama administration and others in the West, saying the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967.
“I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period,” the leader, Khaled Meshal, said during a five-hour interview with The New York Times spread over two days in his home office here in the Syrian capital.
Speaking in Arabic in a house heavily guarded by Syrian and Palestinian security agents, Mr. Meshal, 53, gave off an air of serene self-confidence, having been re-elected a fourth time to four-year term as the leader of the Hamas political bureau, the top position in the movement. His conciliation went only so far, however. He repeated that he would not recognize Israel, saying to fellow Arab leaders, “There is only one enemy in the region, and that is Israel.”
But he urged outsiders to ignore the Hamas charter, which calls for the obliteration of Israel through jihad and cites as fact the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Mr. Meshal did not offer to revoke the charter, but said it was 20 years old, adding, “We are shaped by our experiences.”
He explained why he was giving the interview, his first to an American news organization in a year, by saying: “To understand Hamas is to listen to its vision directly. Hamas is delighted when people want to hear from its leaders directly, not about the movement through others.”
That also seemed aimed at the Obama administration, which has decided to open a dialogue with Iran and Syria, but not with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and accepts previous Palestinian-Israeli accords. >>>