The West Warms to Hamas, But Israel Stays Cold

Even the US promotes contact with the radial Islamist party
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2008 9:25 PM CDT
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, greets U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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(Newser) – The West may be warming to talks with Palestine's radical Hamas party, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The EU is promoting them, and Washington has nudged Egypt to spark Israel-Hamas dialogue, although Jerusalem remains staunchly opposed. "Whoever invites us to negotiate with Hamas is actually inviting us to negotiate on the size of our coffin and on the number of flowers we want on it," one Israeli official said.

But 2 years of diplomatic silence by the West has failed to isolate Hamas, which is growing more popular in Palestine. A recent poll showed that leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an election. And one scholar says talks are necessary: Hamas holds “what Israel wants, which is peace and security,” so any peace deal must be approved by the extremists.