A really significant article by Babak Dehghanpisheh in this week’s Newsweek: The headline is: “A place for Mr. Meshaal: No one wants the leader of Hamas at the Mideast peace table. But everyone needs him there.”
Of course, it is not true that “No one wants him” there… But we can let that go.
Dehghanpisheh interviewed Meshaal for two hours for the article. He writes,
- Meshaal sounds more moderate these days than he once did. Although he still calls for bigger concessions than Israel is likely to grant, they’re at least within the realm of rational discussion.
Wow. There on the news pages in the heart of the U.S. MSM! (As opposed to, for example, the many pieces making this same argument that I and others have written in the op-ed pages of a few, relatively open publications like the Christian Science Monitor.)
Too bad Newsweek is kind of going down the tubes financially right now. I’d love to know the inside-the-mag politics behind Dehghanipisheh getting the piece published…
He does seem to attribute Hamas’s shift toward moderation almost wholly to the economic mess he claims that Hamas rule has led to in Gaza– though he gives no evidence of having actually been there. (Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas spokesman there can be interviewed over the phone from anywhere in the world.) People who have been in Gaza note firstly that the intense economic malaise there is due above all to the tight siege Israel maintains around it, and secondly that, given the conditions of the siege, the Strip is actually remarkably well organized.
Oh well, it is still, I think, a sign of changing attitudes towards Israel in many portions of the U.S. political elite that this piece even got published.