BBSNews 2014-09-21 — By Michael Hess. Senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk says on TV that Hamas can negotiate and not break sharia law. In reporting story headlined “Hamas opens door to direct negotiations with Israel” from Haaretz and services from September 11th, 2014:
The Hamas policy of not negotiating directly with Israel is “not sharia law” and could be relaxed, a senior official of the organization said on Thursday.
“Just as it’s possible to negotiate while fighting, it’s possible to negotiate by talking,” said Moussa Abu Marzouk in an interview with Al Quds TV.
“Up to now, our policy has been not to negotiate directly with Israel, but … we’re not talking about something that is forbidden according to sharia law.”
This announcement elucidated an apparent crisis in the Hamas leadership according to Al-Monitor reporting:
Hamas responded as soon as Abu Marzouk let loose this unprecedented political bomb. Al-Monitor learned from a Hamas source that the “leadership has undertaken urgent internal and external communications to publicize its official position on Abu Marzouk’s statements, given the lack of total agreement within the group’s leadership over this political position on direct negotiations with Israel. Even if there were a specific future stance on the matter, there ought to be agreement over the timing of such a statement, which does not need to be announced through the media.”
The source added, “Up to the present moment, we are still suffering from the misfortunes of the Israeli war on Gaza. The blood of the martyrs has not yet dried, and those forced from their homes have not yet returned. Therefore, the timing of a certain statement on Hamas’ adoption of this historic position must take place through internal consensus, or at least by agreement at the level of the organization and its leadership.”
Less than a week later on September 17th, Benjamin Netanyahu, in answering questions about a mortar that had been fired from Gaza, said that “Hamas had arrested those responsible and was committed to the truce”. Whether there are official negotiations or not it is clear that there is communication going on, at least through the media.
Rational people the world over will say to themselves “holy shiznit”.
How the world will respond to this revelation has a direct bearing on the possibility of peace.