Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hamas hints at possible negotiations with Israel

Full article on Jpost:

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip on Thursday dismissed as "unacceptable" a call by the Quartet to exclude from any future Palestinian Authority cabinet members any group that is not committed to Israel's right to exist.

However, some Hamas leaders hinted that the movement would endorse a "pragmatic and realistic" strategy once its representatives join the PA establishment. They argued that the international community's fears of Hamas's rising power were "unjustified and exaggerated."

Hamas leader Mahmoud a-Zahar said he did not rule out the possibility that his movement would even negotiate with Israel in the future. His remarks, like those of other top Hamas leaders, are seen as an attempt to send a message to the international community that would soften its position after next month's parliamentary elections.

Sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post that some of the movement's leaders, who met recently in the Gaza Strip with EU representatives, stressed that Hamas was in the process of transforming into a political party.

"Hamas's decision to participate in the parliamentary elections indicates that it wants to focus on political activity," the Hamas representatives were quoted as saying. "Hamas believes that it can reform the Palestinian Authority and establish a better government that would invest money for the welfare of the people..."

Hamas as a political party? How well did that work out for the PLO, now the PA/Fatah?