Qatar offered to broker a cease fire btween Israel and Hamas the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamed bin Jassem al-Thani, told a member of Israel’s Knesset. He told Yossi Beilin in Doha, “You are making a big mistake if you think you can reach an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without including Hamas in the talks.” He insisted Abbas would not be able to sign a meaningful agreement without having the inclusion of Hamas in that document. The Aqtari said it was an “illusion” to believe Abbas could be separated from Hamas in any final resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
Bellin’s response was that Hamas had no intention of agreeing to a cease fire, and its intransigence was the major obstacle to reaching an accord. The Qatar prime minister responded, “you should at least strive to reach a cease-fire” and insisted his nation could assist in reachng such an agreement. He argued Hamas has undergone a dramatic change and is now discussing issues such as a cease fire.
We believe a major mistake was made by not inviting Hamas to the Annapolis Conference where it would have been confronted by a large number of Arab nations interested in ending conflict and discord. Instead, the Bush-Olmert approach of not recognizing one’s opponent only strengthened forces of violence in Hamas.