The head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, has said that his movement does not pin any hopes on Barack Obama to find a solution to the Palestine-Israel issue. The judgement is based on an evaluation of the US president through the prism of Palestinian national interests, he said, as Hamas has done with his predecessors.
"The current US president may be skilful and charismatic but he retracted distinctive decisions made in his first term regarding illegal settlements," the Hamas leader told Al-Quds newspaper. "We don't pin our hopes on the White House or European capitals; the future is made on the ground in Palestine and other Arab countries."
He reiterated the commitment he made during his first ever visit to Gaza last year that "resistance by all forms and means" remains the way to achieve the movement's objectives. "We have to stick to our strengths," he said.
When asked about the call made by the Emir of Qatar for a special Arab League meeting in Cairo to discuss Palestinian reconciliation, Meshaal agreed that it is "viable" and should be pursued further. "We are ready for reconciliation at anytime and anywhere, but it has to be free of outside interference," he insisted. This was a reference to US and Israeli pressure on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah not to reconcile with Hamas.
Is he going to stand for Palestinian president when the elections are arranged? "It is premature to ask and answer that question as far as Hamas is concerned."
What about the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation? "Hamas does not compete with anyone, and it does not impose itself as an alternative to anyone either," said Meshaal. "It practices its natural right to take part in the Palestinian decision-making institutions, whether within the PA or the PLO." He stressed that Hamas looks to work in partnership not necessarily as an exclusive alternative. "We do not think about replacing anyone."