Sunday, May 02, 2010

South African diplomat meets Hamas officials in Gaza

From the Global Times(China):
A South African official on Saturday arrived to the Gaza Strip and is scheduled to meet members of the deposed Hamas government which controls the coastal enclave.

A Hamas officer at Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt said that Ibrahim Ibrahim, South Africa's deputy foreign affairs chief, arrived with a senior delegation to Gaza.

Western diplomats, including foreign ministers and the UN chief, have visited Gaza since Hamas took over the territory by force in 2007, but balked at meeting Hamas officials.

At odds with international government members, Ibrahim is scheduled to meet with Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haneya, whom Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has fired when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized Gaza.

Sure enough, Ibrahim did:

All talks and agreements made with Israel must include the Islamist movement, [Mahmoud] Az-Zahhar said following a meeting with a South African delegation at the office of de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

The senior Hamas leader said the South African visit was "evidence of the country's support for the Palestinian issue."
Interestingly, I could not find this story in any South Africa newspapers.