Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Mashaal to address British parliament
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is set to address a meeting of MPs and peers in the British parliament via a videoconference from Damascus on Wednesday. Organized by independent MP Clare Short, a former Labour MP and government minister, and under the auspices of Lord John Alderdice, a Liberal Democrat peer, the meeting is set to discuss the notion that there can be no peace in the Middle East without talking to the Islamist organization. "Most serious commentators now believe that there can be no peace in the Middle East without talking to Hamas.In addition, we may be facing the last chance for a two-state solution," reads the invitation to the event. "In 2006, Hamas won more than 65.2 percent of the vote in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. Since then, Gaza has been besieged, boycotted and bombarded. There has been great human misery, but no progress and no improved security for anyone, including Israel, which is still the target of missiles," says the invitation.Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to Britain, questioned the decision by parliament to allow the Hamas leader to address the meeting."The British Parliament is an icon of the democratic values to which Hamas is violently opposed. It's ironic that the mother of all parliaments should play host to a leader who seeks to subjugate his people to a theocratic nightmare based on the oppression, torture and execution of religious and political opponents," he said.Mashaal's involvement in the meeting was opposed by Prosor."Hamas's charter states categorically that there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad," he said. "One can only presume that those who invite terrorists to speak at Westminster either share this view or utterly fail to comprehend its implications.""Clare Short and Lord Alderdice offer no attempt to persuade Hamas to change its policies of missiles and murder. Instead, they attempt to sanitize, legitimize and reward an organization and ideology that remains committed to violence, bloodshed and the destruction of a sovereign state," Prosor added.Britain, along with the European Union and US, deems Hamas a terrorist organization and has pledged to isolate it until it adopts the Quartet principles - which require recognizing Israel, the renouncement of violence and acceptance of previous interim peace accords.The British Foreign Office said on Tuesday that talking to Hamas would undermine those Palestinians who are committed to peace."We are aware that some MPs are planning to talk to members of Hamas in a private capacity on Wednesday, there are no plans for any government contacts," the Foreign Office said."We do not believe it is productive to talk to Hamas directly. Hamas is a terrorist organization, they fire rockets at innocent civilians, they put ordinary Palestinians in harm's way and they murder and maim their political opponents.We believe that to talk to Hamas directly at this time would simply undermine those Palestinians who are committed to peace," a Foreign Office spokesperson said.The Foreign Office added that the Arab League has mandated Egypt to communicate with Hamas and that they are in regular contact with both.
By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENTTo read more go to:
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