The head of Foreign Relations for the Hamas Political Bureau has said that Europe is beginning to realise that ignoring the Islamic Resistance Movement is a mistake. According to Osama Hamdan, the French Foreign Minister's recent statement that his country is ready to talk with Hamas is "a correction of the errors committed by European countries against Hamas". He also pointed out that some EU countries already have contacts with the movement.
In an interview with "Palestine" newspaper, Mr. Hamdan called on Europe to take practical steps to reach out to Hamas which is, he claims, "The most prominent political force in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and a political group whose influence, role and position is well known".
Earlier, the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, expressed his country's willingness to talk with Hamas "if the Palestinian Authority requested that", stressing that there will not be a peace agreement without Hamas at the table. Mr. Kouchner's statement is, according to Osama Hamdan, an indication that the French are more daring than others in the open expression of such views. He also pointed out that similar comments have been made by many journalists, academics and think-tanks in France, proving his movement's status in the country.
It is wrong, Mr. Hamdan believes, for Western countries to classify Hamas as a "terrorist" organisation and try to impose the Quartet's conditions in exchange for recognition. "When Europe refused to respond positively to the Palestinian election results, it did not recognise the realities emerging in the Palestinian arena," he said. "Instead, the EU submitted meekly to US and Israeli pressure to put Hamas on the terrorism blacklist." That, he added, was a big mistake. "A number of European officials have recognised that mistakes were committed against the movement and are now calling for the correction of these mistakes." The political claims upon which the proscription of Hamas was based have been proven to be wrong, said Mr. Hamdan; Hamas has overcome the obstacles put in its path and the Israeli "promise" to eliminate the Islamic movement cannot be delivered. "The Palestinian people still rally behind Hamas," he added.
Hamdan has invited Mr. Kouchner and European officials to visit Gaza to observe the reality there and see for themselves the results of the "Zionist crimes committed against the people". He expects that such visits and some direct meetings with Hamas and the Palestinian government in Gaza will follow soon.
Hamas says that it will respond to any initiatives towards the achievement of Palestinian national rights, with the proviso that such initiatives should be aiming to maintain its people's rights, and not to eradicate or ignore them. The organisation has, says Osama Hamdan, confirmed by its conduct of political affairs in Gaza that it is a rational movement working for Palestinian national interests. This issue is at the core, he believes, of Hamas's refusal to accede to the Quartet's demands and give up resistance to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. "This is not a push for Western acceptance of Hamas," he said, "but for the West to agree to deal with Palestine and this conflict in accordance with our national, legal and humanitarian rights." In the process, Hamas will continue to respect EU policy-makers' wishes to keep details of political contacts out of the media.
Source: Palestinian Information Centre – Gaza