The election of Barack Obama has impacted many areas of the Middle East where decades of conflict with Israel have exhausted people, but also brought for many the realization something different must be tried if things are to change. Damascus based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, sent greetings to the newly elected American president and emphasized his organization was ready to engage in talks with the US. “There is no doubt that the recent American election is a big change when you get an American president with African roots. It’s a big change–political and psychological– and it is noteworthy and I congratulate President Obama.” He expressed the view, “yes, we are ready for dialogue with President Obama and with the new American administration with an open mind, and on the basis that the American administration respects our rights and options.”
Mashaal pointed out that Hamas had won an election and thus represented the views of a segment of the Palestinian people. It is time to move away from the failed policies of Bush and the Israel government which refuses to engage in discussions with Hamas.