Obama administration looking to end Hamas isolation
You could just see this coming down the pike. George Mitchell (pictured), President Barack Hussein
Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, expressed support on Thursday for a 'Palestinian' unity government between a reconciled Fatah and Hamas. The implication is that the Obama administration will support ending Hamas' diplomatic isolation
In sharp contrast to the Bush administration, which opposed a Palestinian national unity government, Mitchell said that should Egypt bring the sides together it would be "a step forward," and that until now divisions among the Palestinians have been a major obstacle to bringing peace to the region, according to representatives of Jewish organizations who participated in the call. The 45-minute call was on the record but not open to the media.
Though Mitchell said that Hamas would still need to adhere to the Quartet's demands that it halt violence, recognize Israel and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements in such a government, and that chances for that weren't good, the fact that the US would support a Palestinian structure aimed at incorporating and potentially co-opting Hamas rather than working to exclude it suggested the contours of a fresh approach by the Obama administration.
The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on its policy on a Palestinian unity government.
Mitchell also differed from Israel's likely next Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu's position is that a 'Palestinian' state must be built from the ground up, and therefore he looks to see the 'Palestinians' make economic progress before moving to a political solution. Mitchell said that the two must come together. American Jewish Leftists are falling all over themselves with joy.
As a starting point it was welcomed by Henry Siegman, director of the New York-based US Middle East Project, whose senior advisers and board members represent a bi-partisan group of former high-ranking US foreign policy officials primarily from the "realist" school of thought.
They recently sent a letter to the Obama administration urging a change in policy which would reach out to Hamas.
Siegman said that welcoming, instead of opposing, a Palestinian unity government was a positive sign. He argued that negotiations aimed at moderating Hamas would be most effective if the Americans were directly involved, but said European and other international intermediaries could also work. "The important thing is that such initiatives would have to be supported by the administration," he said.
He said that the administration had indicated it would like to meet with the authors of the letter, which has not been made public, but no date has yet been set.