Hamas, at least according to one increasingly popular line of reasoning in both the U.S. and Europe, is supposed to be turning more moderate because of its governance responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, many commentators claimed to see evidence of its growing maturity in its decision to agree with Israel on a relatively fast cease-fire deal after the most recent round of fighting. Many call for engaging in negotiations with Hamas on the assumption that it is tacitly accepting a two-state solution.
Such analysis has always appeared to be the triumph of hope over experience and never more so than following Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal’s triumphal homecoming to the Gaza Strip–a territory he had never previously visited in his life but where he exercises a large degree of influence. His speech, to mark the 25th anniversary of Hamas’s founding, was not exactly a model of moderation. Here is what he had to say: