European nations have opened a direct dialogue with Hamas as the US intensifies the search for Middle East peace under Barack Obama.I guess that the EU believes that Hamas won, and want to reward them for their valiant ability to continue shooting rockets at women and children.
In the first meeting of its kind, two French senators travelled to Damascus two weeks ago to meet the leader of the Palestinian Islamist faction, Khaled Meshal, The Independent has learned. Two British MPs met three weeks ago in Beirut with the Hamas representative in Lebanon, Usamah Hamdan. “Far more people are talking to Hamas than anyone might think,” said a senior European diplomat. “It is the beginning of something new – although we are not negotiating.”
Mr Hamdan said yesterday that since the end of last year, MPs from Sweden, the Netherlands and three other western European nations, which he declined to identify, had consulted with Hamas representatives.
“They believe they made a mistake by blacklisting Hamas,” he said, referring to the EU decision in 2003 to add the political wing of the movement to its list of terrorist organisations. “Now they know they have to talk to Hamas.”
Political contacts with Hamas are banned under the rules of the international Quartet for Middle East peace – which groups the US, the EU, Russia and the UN – on the grounds that the Palestinian faction remains committed to the destruction of Israel. The international community insists that the ban will only be lifted once the Islamists agree to recognise Israel and renounce violence. But the policy, set out in 2006 following the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections, has been called into question since the three-week war in Gaza which is ruled by Hamas.
War crimes? Nah, they only apply to Israel.