|Mashaal tells Lavrov rocket attacks will end|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 26 February 2007 17:00|
|Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal has told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, that Kassam rocket attacks against Israel will end, although the terrorist organization is not yet ready to recognize Israel's right to exist. The announcement came as Mashaal visited Moscow to urge Russia to help end the international boycott against the Palestinian Authority government, implemented after Hamas was elected into government by the Palestinians. Russia has taken a softer stance on Hamas than the rest of the Quartet members (EU, US, UN, Russia), even refusing to call it a terrorist organization as labelled by the US and EU. Russia, I believe, will press other members of the Quartet to relax the restrictions against the PA based on this "good behavior" promise from Hamas. |
Quote: ""Hamas should use its authority to stop violence including missile attacks against Israel," Lavrov said at a news conference after his meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. "We received confirmation that such steps will be taken," Lavrov said. However, Mashaal said at a separate news conference that the group is not ready to recognize Israel. Renouncing violence and recognizing Israel are both key demands of international peace negotiators. "First of all, Israel has to end its occupation of Palestinian territory and put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people," Mashaal said when asked about the recognition issue. "When Israel does that, the Palestinian people will make their position clear."
I predicted a few days ago that Hamas would be pressed to announce an end to its attacks against Israel, and possibly a promise to abide by previous agreements signed by the PLO, and that this would satisfy the requirements of the international community. But I didn't expect this announcement from Hamas to come so quickly. It will be interesting to see how the other Quartet members react. I suspect that after the formation of the unity government and if Mashaal can keep his word, Europe and the US will quickly follow suit in recognizing the Palestinian Authority government. After that, and possibly after the looming war of Ezekiel 38-39, the next step is the division of the land.
Source YNet News