Foreign Policy Blogs

Carter Nudges Hamas towards Truce with Israel

meshaal.jpgJimmy Carter's controversial visit with Hamas has yielded an unexpected offer to Israel. Hamas' leading strategist, Khaled Meshaal has publicly announced a ten year "hudna" (truce), as recognition of Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Of course, this offer is met with cynicism here in the United States:

“It is pretty clear to us that there is no acceptance on the part of Hamas of any kind of negotiated settlement,” offered Deputy Spokesman of the State Department, Tom Casey.

When Carter first announced his intentions to meet with Hamas, he was criticized around the world and in the United States for being naïve. Although the naïve accusation seems unwarranted after Meshal's truce offer, as always, there are signs to undermine notions of peace. Hamas spokesman, Abu Jandal suggested that an escalation of hostilities between Hamas and Israel is near. "Abu Jandal described the recent attacks as a walk in the park and said upcoming attacks would be harsher." Could it be that Abu Jandal was speaking without knowledge of or prior to Meshaal's announcement? It is possible, but Hamas has a record of doublespeak.

Retired Israeli General Danny Rothschild senses "a rise in the capabilities of Hamas and a rise in the motivation." In addition, he expects "an increase in the level of assistance that Hamas is getting from Iran and Hezbollah."

With this muddled context, it is hard to expect Meshaal's offer to make any headway amongst Israeli and American leaders, especially when acknowledging that his offer is nothing new:

"Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, said Wednesday that a long-term truce with Israel would be possible, if it accepted conditions including a return to its 1967 borders." , February 8, 2006