Hamas Threatens Violence Over Annapolis Conference

As time draws near for the opening of the Annapolis conference called by the United States in order to deal with Israel and Palestinian issues, the rhetoric of Hamas grows increasingly strident. A mass rally of 10,000 people in Gaza demanded that President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority avoid making any concessions which infringed on Palestinian rights or cut off control of mosques in Jerusalem. Khalil al-Haya, a Hamas leader uttered threatening words: “We warn the whole region… against harming Alaksa(mosque) meddling with our basic rights or tightening the siege.. We war of a big explosion.”

The failure to include Hamas in the Annapolis talks merely gives its leaders permission to engage in wild boasts and threats. It is doubtful if such talk would occur when sitting around tables at which Arab leaders from every major nation in the Middle East were listening. Participation at the Annapolis meeting would compel Hamas to tone down its rhetoric and become involved in negotiation and compromises. As long as it remains on the outside, wild talk and threats will continue.