Monday, November 19, 2012

Hamas leader on truce prospects: "Maybe never"

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stopped in Cairo on his way to Israel, joining Egyptian mediated talks between Hamas and Israel with a goal of bringing about a cease-fire. Continued instability in the region, including civil war in Syria, protests against the crown in Jordan, and the rise of militants in Libya, could be impacted by the recent fighting in Israel to further ignite the region. Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal showed no signs that an agreement was imminent, seeking demands, but saying it is Israel's responsibility to stop. While participation in talks is an encouraging sign, it seems positional bargaining could lead to intractable positions and escalation. After existing as a pariah at odds with the Palestinian Authority, and with Syria and Iran as its primary allies, Hamas is emboldened by recent support. Hamas is armed with stronger rockets and now receives backing from key regional governments formerly allied with Israel who have recently changed to Islamist control, such as Egypt and Turkey. Asked if Hamas wants a truce with Israel, Meshaal responded, "Maybe today or tomorrow," he said, "or maybe never." See