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Hamas Out Of The Cold?

Michael Sharnoff

Despite its record of suicide bombings and indiscriminate rocketing, Hamas may be emerging from international isolation.

French, British, Swedish, and Dutch officials have all recently been in touch with the group, marking a sharp departure from the policy of the international Quartet (U.S., E.U., Russia and the U.N.), which stipulates that Hamas must renounce violence and recognize Israel before dialogue. As Rory Miller noted in the fall 2007 issue of inFOCUS, some European leaders believe Hamas is a political force that must be engaged.

Washington, too, insists the group meet the Quartet’s demands before dialogue.  However, according to recent reports, Senator John Kerry carried a letter from Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Yousef to President Barack Obama, asking Washington to change its policies. Karen Abu Zaid of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reportedly passed the letter to Kerry.  Kerry insists he only learned later that the letter was written by a Hamas figure.