Meshaal Makes Unprecedented Trip to Gaza Strip
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was greeted by large crowds during his first visit to the Gaza Strip, where he will participate in an official celebration commemorating the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas. Representatives of the rival Fatah organization that governs the West Bank were also present for Meshaal’s arrival. Previously banned from visiting Gaza through Egypt by former President Hosni Mubarak, a Hamas spokesman said Meshaal’s visit was one of the achievements of November’s fighting.
“No cabinet minister in Israel would call Meshaal a moderate,” said Crispian Balmer in the Chicago Tribune, ”but in recent years Meshaal has adopted a more nuanced stance.” Addressing Palestine’s new status at the U.N., Ramzy Baroud argued, ”It is not the new status that truly matters, but rather how it is interpreted and employed.” However, “By refusing to support even modest moves toward Palestinian self-determination through official international channels, the U.S. is now willfully disengaging from its own interests in the region, at an immense and as-yet unknown cost,” lamented Sandy Tolan in the Christian Science Monitor.