Last week Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas’s Political Bureau, gave an interview to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam. The choice of venue is significant, since Al-Ayyam is a pro-Fatah paper, linked to the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, and Meshaal is the presumed leader of Hamas, whose breakaway government rules Gaza since last June. The interview should therefore be read as an act of public diplomacy. In the West, it has hardly been read at all. Ha’aretz ran a short item, which was translated into English, and the Italian news agency AKI published a version of the interview.
Ignoring Meshaal is a mistake, especially given developments I’ll describe in a moment. So I asked a Palestinian journalist to translate some key excerpts of the Al-Ayyam interview. They appear below. Pay particular attention to the last paragraph. First, though a bit of context.