Leaders of Hamas welcomed the new initiative by President Abbas who heads the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya expressed the pleasure of Hamas at the “call of president Abbas to hold a national dialgue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity.” The Hamas leader emphasized that any talk would not take place within an environment of either side claiming to be the “victor” or the “vanquished.” President Abbas has dropped his demands that Hamas return to the situation as it was before they took over the Gaza Strip.
There is no question President Abbas has reached out to Hamas due to his growing disgust with failure on the part of Israel to present positive evidence of its desire for peace. Abbas is furious at the continual building of settlements on the West Bank and now in Jerusalem. Abbas made clear, “peace and reconciliation cannot be attained through swords of occupation or bulldozers of settlements. The Israel decision to annex Jerusalem and build settlements in the city and on the West Bank along with the separation-’apartheid’ wall are null and void.”
The American-Israel policy of refusing to have discussions with Hamas can also be declared as null and void since all they have done is lead to increased power for Hamas. Israel has forced President Abbas to reach out to Hamas and will undoubtedly soon blame him for taking this initiative. His hands were tied by Israel actions on the West Bank and in Jerusalem.