04 February 2009

Hamas Officials Signal Willingness to Negotiate

Or, as an alternative headline, Hope Springs Eternal.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Senior officials in the Islamic group Hamas are indicating a willingness to negotiate a deal for a long-term truce with Israel as long as the borders of Gaza are opened to the rest of the world.

"We want to be part of the international community," Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told The Associated Press at the Gaza-Egypt border, where he was coordinating Arab aid shipments. "I think Hamas has no interest now to increase the number of crises in Gaza or to challenge the world."
What can I say to this keen and heartfelt desire? Only that I, as the rest of my people, am tired of holding my breath every time some journalist declares that here, here it is, finally they want to talk peace - all you need is to sit down with these folks and hammer out an agreement.

I am tired since the drums and trumpets of Oslo. I am tired, like all of us, of trying to interpret what Yasser really meant saying that a million martyrs will march on Al Quds - was it a joke, a warning or really a peace offer? Did Mahmoud the Mad call for annihilation of Israel or only of the Zionist establishment? Have these Arab leaders who promised to throw the Jews into the sea been jesting in thrall of righteous rage or have they really meant it?

I just knew that I remember that name somewhere, and here comes Ghazi Hamad:
"Israel should be wiped from the face of the Earth. It is an animal state that recognises no human worth. It is a cancer that should be eradicated."
Clear enough, I don't even need an AP journalist for interpretation. But, going back to the AP "hopeful" - after all he/she doesn't really believe Mr Hamad:
"We won this war," said Hamas politician Mushir Al-Masri. "Why should we give in to pressure from anyone?" Yet even Al-Masri, a staunch hard-liner, sounded a conciliatory note."We have our hands open to any country ... to open a dialogue without conditions," he said — clarifying that does not include Israel.
Dialog with any country... aside of you know who...

Our eagerness to hear what we'd like to hear and our ability to grasp every, even so slight nuance in the Hamasspeak, Jihadprattle or Al Qaedatalk and turn it from inside out to look for a deeper peaceful meaning is staggering sometimes.

But some of us, at least, are getting tired and aren't that eager to gamble anymore, and some will go to their election booths soon and squash any remaining hope for any remaining chance to really sit down and really negotiate out some semblance of that elusive peace.