No one wants the leader of Hamas at the Mideast peace table. But everyone needs him there.
“There is a position and program that all Palestinians share,” he tells NEWSWEEK. “To accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital. With the right of return. And this state would have real sovereignty, on the land and on the borders. And with no settlements.” This would fall far short of the drastic goals Hamas’s charter lays out, but Meshaal says his group would accept such an agreement if a majority of Palestinians approved it: “When this program is implemented…we would respect the will of the Palestinian people.” Paul Scham, one of the foremost U.S. experts on Hamas, says he believes that the group’s actual views have evolved away from its rabidly anti-Israel charter, and that Hamas is now prepared to act as Fatah’s silent partner in talks to achieve Palestinian statehood.