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JERUSALEM – Hamas met with a delegation of “important Democrats” who expressed interest in relations with the Palestinian terror group even if it doesn’t recognize the right of Israel to exist, a Palestinian news website claimed today.
Maannews quoted a source in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority stating the terror group felt it important to meet with members of the Democratic Party since, the Hamas source said, the party will likely win 2008 presidential elections.
Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, told WND the party was not aware of any meeting.
Maannews is an independent Palestinian news website based in Ramallah and Bethlehem. Sources close to the website told WND the site receives some funding from the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands.
According to the report, the alleged meeting with the Democrats took place in a European country following a series of preliminary meetings with representatives from the British and French governments.
The Hamas source did not name which Democrats the terror group claims to have met.
The source told Maannews the Democrats expressed an understanding with the Hamas principal of not recognizing Israel and applauded Hamas’ willingness to accept a long-term cease-fire with the Jewish state in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to what is known as the pre-1967 borders – meaning an evacuation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Last month, overall Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said his group would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.
Israel withdrew from Gaza last summer. Since then, Palestinian terror groups have been regularly firing rockets from the territory into nearby Jewish cities. The West Bank is within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport.
The Maannews report quoted the Hamas source as claiming prior meetings with European representatives “broke the ice” and facilitated the alleged talks with Democrat officials. The source claimed Britain and France recently discussed with the terror group the possibility of breaking an international financial embargo imposed on the PA since Hamas won parliamentary elections earlier this year.
The source claimed Britain and France are “coming to terms” with the Hamas position of mediating the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a long-term cease-fire instead of final status negotiations in which the PA would agree to peace with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state. The source said the two countries asked Hamas for a position paper outlining ideas for a long-term truce with Israel.
Ghazi Hamed, a spokesman for Hamas, told WND he could not comment on the report.
A senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND Hamas “has “relations with “influential American and European elements.”
The official said he could neither confirm nor deny whether Hamas held any meetings with Democrats.
Hamas, responsible for scores of deadly suicide bombings, shooting attacks and rocket launchings against Israeli civilians, is classified by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.
The U.S. reportedly has been working to bolster PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party against Hamas. The U.S. considers Fatah to be moderate.
Terrorists: ‘Vote Democrat’
Last month, just prior to U.S. midterm elections, WND conducted a series of exclusive interviews in which prominent Middle East terrorist leaders said they hoped Americans would sweep the Democrats into power because of the party’s position on withdrawing from Iraq, a move, the terrorists explained, that would ensure victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance.
The terrorists told WND an electoral win for the Democrats would prove to them Americans are “tired.” They rejected statements from some prominent Democrats in the U.S. that a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency, explaining an evacuation would prove resistance works and would compel jihadists to continue fighting until America is destroyed.
They said a withdrawal would also embolden their own terror groups to enhance “resistance” against Israel.
“Of course Americans should vote Democrat,” Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the infamous leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, told WND last month.
“This is why American Muslims will support the Democrats, because there is an atmosphere in America that encourages those who want to withdraw from Iraq. It is time that the American people support those who want to take them out of this Iraqi mud,” said Jaara, speaking to WND from exile in Ireland, where he was sent as part of an internationally brokered deal that ended the church siege.
Jaara was the chief in Bethlehem of the Brigades, the declared “military wing” of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.
Together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing inside Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis.
Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, said the Democrats’ talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel “proud.”
“As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk,” he told WND. “Very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance. This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal.”
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal “proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation.”
“We warned the Americans that this will be their end in Iraq,” said Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared “resistance” department.
“They did not succeed in stealing Iraq’s oil, at least not at a level that covers their huge expenses. They did not bring stability. Their agents in the [Iraqi] regime seem to have no chance to survive if the Americans withdraw.”
Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, said he is “emboldened” by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.
“[The mujahedeen fighters] brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam and that they should fix a schedule for their withdrawal from Iraq,” boasted Abu Ayman.
The terror leaders spoke as the debate regarding the future of America’s war in Iraq became the central theme of last week’s elections, with most Democrats urging a timetable for withdrawal and Republicans mostly advocating staying the course in Iraq.
Terrorists laugh at Pelosi’s comments
Many Democratic politicians and some from the Republican Party have stated a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency there.
In a recent interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, stated, “The jihadists (are) in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.”
Pelosi will become House speaker when the new Congress is seated in January.
WND read Pelosi’s remarks to the terror leaders, who unanimously rejected her contention an American withdrawal would end the insurgency.
Islamic Jihad’s Saadi, laughing, stated, “There is no chance that the resistance will stop.”
He said an American withdrawal from Iraq would “prove the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works. The victory of the Iraqi revolution will mark an important step in the history of the region and in the attitude regarding the United States.”
Jihad Jaara said an American withdrawal would “mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire (U.S.).”
“Therefore, a victory in Iraq would be a greater defeat for America than in Vietnam.”
Jaara said vacating Iraq would also “reinforce Palestinian resistance organizations, especially from the moral point of view. But we also learn from these (insurgency) movements militarily. We look and learn from them.”
Hamas’ Abu Abdullah argued a withdrawal from Iraq would “convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance.”
“The victory of the resistance in Iraq would prove once more that when the will and the faith are applied victory is not only a slogan,” Abdullah said. “We saw that in Lebanon (during Israel’s confrontation against Hezbollah there in July and August); we saw it in Gaza (after Israel withdrew from the territory last summer) and we will see it everywhere there is occupation.”
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