Hanley, Delinda C., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
On May 5, the day after Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal, the Middle East Institute and the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC co-hosted veteran journalist Ziad Abu Zayyad, the co-founder and editor of the Palestine/Israel Journal, launched in 1994. Abu Zayyad, who was elected as a member of the Palestinian National Council from Jerusalem and also served as minister of state in the Palestinian National Authority, discussed the rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas, as well as the main challenges facing the U.S.-Palestinian bilateral relationship.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshal has stated that his organization is now committed to seeking a two-state solution-a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital-and also supports the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel itself.
Hamas has evolved away from its own political platform, Abu Zayyad explained, just as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) eventually did. Hamas is now acting as "frontier guards" for Israel, preventing more radical groups from launching rocket attacks on Israel and other unproductive forms of resistance.
He reminded listeners that the "unity" agreement originally was an Egyptian proposal accepted by Fatah in 2009, but rejected by Hamas. …