Advisers Press Obama to Start Low Level Hamas Talks

Administration Unlikely to Start Direct Negotiations, May Use Secret Envoys

by Jason Ditz, January 08, 2009

The Guardian is reporting that incoming President Barack Obama is being urged by advisers to abandon the Bush Administration’s policy of isolating Hamas and to allow for multipartite or clandestine talks with the Islamist organization.

But even if the Obama Administration does make the significant foreign policy decision, Americans might not necessarily hear about it. One expert close to the transition team conceded that “it is highly unlikely that they will be public about it.” Rather, secret envoys will likely be used, and European nations may be used as intermediaries to avoid the unseemly appearance that the United States is really negotiating with the Hamas government.

Since Israel began its war on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip two weeks ago, Obama has gone to great lengths to avoid commenting on the situation. The only comments the media has managed to squeeze from the new President so far came in the wake of Tuesday’s Israeli attack on a UN-run Gaza school, after which he said little, but promised more elaborate comments sometime after January 20th. In fact Obama has spoken at greater length and with more conviction on his support of a college football playoff system than on America’s involvement in a war he will soon inherit.

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