Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal continued the group’s media blitz Wednesday with an in-depth interview with CNN. He pleaded with President Trump to use his influence to broker a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel.
“This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel.. to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people,” Meshaal told CNN’s Nic Robertson. “And it will be to the credit of the civilized world and the American administration to stop the darkness that we have been suffering from for many years.”
Meshaal credited Trump with an unprecedented boldness. Whereas previous administrations were bogged down by political considerations, Trump is something of a free agent. Obviously, there’s no easy solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but shifting attitudes might be paving the way for a resolution.
On Monday Hamas released a policy document toning down some of their more offensive rhetoric. It’s no longer calling for Israeli’s destruction, although they’re still insisting that the country has no right to exist, and expressed their willingness to enforce that view militarily.
“This is a plea from me to the Trump administration — the new American administration — break out from the wrong approaches of the past and which did not arrive at a result. And perhaps to grab the opportunity presented by Hamas’ document,” Meshaal said during his interview with Robertson.
The interview comes as Trump is preparing to meet Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The current administration has repeatedly expressed its willingness to act as an intermediary between Israel and Palestine.
What’s unclear, however, is the White House’s opinion regarding how the conflict should be solved. America has historically supported a two-state solution, but Trump questioned that logic after a February meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like … I can live with either one,” Trump said at the time. “If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”
“I think we have some pretty good cooperation from people in the past who would never, ever have even thought about doing this, so we’ll see how that works.”
Meshaal claimed during his interview that the policy document released Monday was an attempt to assuage tensions and show Hamas’ willingness to compromise. Israel, however, remains unconvinced. The ire existing between the groups is so deeply-felt and longstanding that it’s not surprising that they are wary.
“Hamas is attempting to fool the world but it will not succeed,” said David Keyes, a spokesman for Netanyahu.
“Daily, Hamas leaders call for genocide of all Jews and the destruction of Israel. They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. Schools and mosques run by Hamas teach children that Jews are apes and pigs. This is the real Hamas.”
Memories of the atrocities committed by Hamas still burn in Israel. The past, however, is less important than the future. The current situation is untenable. Something must change. Peace and stability can only be achieved through compromise.
Hamas, currently deemed a terrorist operation by the U.S., softened its stance on Israel in order to win international approval. If Trump can convince Meshaal to stick to that agreement, peace would suddenly become a plausible reality.
“We don’t want to dilute our principles but we want to be open. We hope this (document) will mark a change in the stance of European states towards us,” Meshaal told reporters. “Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine but is ready to support the state on 1967 borders without recognizing Israel or ceding any rights.”
Previous presidents did little to advance stability in the region. Trump is already making remarkable strides. Given America’s close alliance with Israel, it’s intriguing that Hamas has so much faith in Trump.
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