Helena Cobban alerts us to this significant article by Babak Dehghanpisheh in this week's Newsweek A Place for Mr. Meshaal, which reinforces what we all know, the need for Hamas at the table. The article includes some startling revelations that generally go unspoken in our mainstream media. Reflecting on the recent Newsweek interview with Meshaal, Dehghanpisheh asserts "Meshaal desperately wants a place at the table" and continues: (my bold)
“Even to suggest an opening to Hamas would blow every fuse in the Israeli political establishment,” says an administration official who asked not to be named discussing the politics of a U.S. ally. For that matter, Obama himself is facing enough domestic opposition without talking to terrorists.
“The blowback here would be extreme,” says Robert Malley, a former member of President Clinton’s Mideast peace team now at the International Crisis Group. Still, Meshaal sounds more moderate these days than he once did. Although he still calls for bigger concessions than Israel is likely to grant, they’re at least within the realm of rational discussion.
I reject the idea it is in anyone's best interest to isolate Hamas, certainly not the Palestinians. By far the strengthening of Palestinians into one unified voice will do more to move the process along than any one feature at this juncture in my opinion.
Nevertheless, Abbas is under heavy pressure from U.S. and Israeli officials to keep Hamas isolated. The Fatah leader is disinclined to argue with Washington: America has contributed more than $74 million to the Palestinian Authority this year alone—more than all Arab countries combined. But keeping Hamas isolated gives Meshaal’s group every reason to play the spoiler. Fatah on its own could never stop the violence. “It’s quite clear that no agreement regarding this conflict can be implemented without the participation of the main Palestinian forces,” says Mouin Rabbani, a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.
I urge everyone to read the interview and Dehghanpisheh's article.