Eying PLO Leadership, Mashaal Backs Negotiations
Following multiple meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has reportedly come out in favor of negotiations with Israel and supporting the idea of a two-state solution.
Top PLO official Saeb Erekat, a member of the Fatah faction, has cheered the announcement, the first time a Hamas leader has so publicly endorsed the idea of a peace treaty.
Mashaal’s change of position is likely fueled at least in part by his interest in replacing Mahmoud Abbas as the head of the PLO, and reports that King Abdullah, an outspoken advocate of the two-state solution, is backing Mashaal’s bid.
Though Hamas has solid support in Palestine and could conceivably replace Fatah at the head of the PLO, doing so would be difficult without some acquiescence, if only privately, from the US and Israel. This change could go a long way toward that, though, Israeli officials will likely not publicly admit if their position on Hamas changes as a result.
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