Saturday, April 3, 2010

Former U.S. officials meet with Hamas' Zahar ...

WSJ/ here
Several high-profile former U.S. officials, some with close ties to the Obama administration, met with Hamas in recent months, raising hope inside the group that its views are being heard at the White House.
White House officials and participants in the talks emphasize the meetings weren't sanctioned by Washington. U.S. officials say there has been no change to Washington's insistence that Hamas take a number of steps before official dialogue can begin.
Still, the talks have been interpreted by some officials inside Hamas, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is run by the Palestinian ...

and FP/ here
"... These contacts, which included the State Department's approval of a debate between a senior U.S. diplomat and a Hamas representative, have been interpreted by Hamas -- and Fatah, its rival -- as a softening of the U.S. stance against the party.
Among those leading the charge is Rob Malley, who, along with other former U.S. officials, met with Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmud Zahar in Zurich last summer. A little history: Malley, Middle East and North Africa program director for the International Crisis Group, was forced to abandon his advisory role to the Obama campaign in summer 2008, due to his contacts with Hamas...."

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