Tag Archives: Damascus meeting

Jimmy Carter Talks With Hamas Leaders In Damascus

Former President Jimmy Carter met with exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Mshaal in the Syrian captial despite angry protests from Israel and the United States. the meeting is designed to discvuss ways in which a truce can be arranged between Hamas and Israel as well as issues related to the release of a captured Israeli soldier and Palestinian prisoners held in Israel jails. The two men expressed their hope “their support for dialogue in arriving at politcal solutions to problems.” Carter was refused permission to meet Hamas leaders in Gaza and had to dialogue with them in Cairo.

US Assistant Secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, David Welch, denoun ced the Carter discussions and wanted to make clear that Carter did not represent the United States. “We see no intention on the part of Hamas” to pursue the path to peace. Ironically, Israeli Minister Eli Yishai said he would meet with Hamas leaders to discuss the issue of release of prisoners.

Israel and American politicians who denounced Jimmy Carter for talking with Hamas leaders are unable to explain how their approach to dealing with that organization has produced any beneficial results other than more violence and death.

Hamas And Allies Will Hold Meeting In Damascus

The Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas is attempting to persuade Syria’s president to cancel a proposed conference in Damascus of Arab groups. The so-called “national conference” is a Palestinian alternative to the upcoming Annapolis conference that Secretary of Rice has organized. Abbas fears such a conference would weaken his hand since it gives the image of a divided Palestinian leadership and others attending the Annapolis conference might question his right to negotiate for Palestinians. Participants will include Hamas and a number of other insurgent groups which believe the right of return can never be negotiated away. They fear Abbas will abandon the right of refugees to return in exchange for borders based on 1967 lines. It is expected that over 700 Arab intellectuals will be at Damascus.

The proposed Damascus conference would never occur if Hamas had been included with the Palestinian membership attending the Annapolis meeting. By excluding Hamas it only causes other groups to emerge as powerful entities in vying for leadership of the Palestinian people.