Khaled Meshaal has been re-elected as head of the Hamas movement for a fourth time, a move seen as Palestinians taking a new stand on peace process. Even the rival Fatah movement agrees the 56-year-old charismatic leader has a liberal face among the Hamas members, who are known for their extremist ways.
It also shows how US administration is taking a soft stand on Hamas position with the peace process hit for a longtime. Even when the Palestinians say the peace drive is not deadlocked, and a recently conducted survey says they have full faith in the initiative, things do not give a rosy picture.
Israeli settlement and clashes between Israeli forces and freedom fighters continue as much as ever. Above all, Gaza blockade too persists. Unless Israel lifts this blockade and the West lift the blacklist on Hamas, will there be an unity among the Hamas and Fatah? And will they unite for the bigger cause of Palestine state creation.
Meshaal has earlier expressed his unwillingness to continue as the chief of Hamas, realising his popularity is on the wane. But the sudden acceptance of Meshaal, is alleged as pressure from Qatar, the emerging kingmaker in Middle East politics.
His re-election was welcomed as a positive step by a senior member of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
“Meshaal is a pragmatic person and may be more malleable than others in Hamas,” Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Alul told Voice of Palestine radio, according to reports.
No doubt big responsibility awaits Meshaal in taking a political will by winning the heart of hardcore Hamas members in taking forward his idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It is a Herculean task as even the new generation speaks of an independent Palestine state. How he is going to make use of his widespread contact in the Arab world, which always dilly-dally on regional security issues, is to be seen.