Increasingly isolated since the loss of a key ally in deposed Egyptian president
Mohamed Morsi, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal traveled Tuesday to one of the few
world leaders still willing to embrace him: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
One Israeli official said that Hamas today was experiencing “a
period of unprecedented isolation” because of its terrorism and
“Having such a high-level meeting says more about the people
hosting them [Hamas] than anything else,” he said.
This was Mashaal’s
third visit to Turkey since September 2012. He was last there in June, amid
Erdogan’s repeated declarations that he was going to visit the Gaza
Such a visit seems increasingly unlikely, however, since
Egyptian-Turkish relations were badly strained by Erdogan’s backing of Morsi and
scathing criticism of Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It is very
unlikely Egypt would allow him to pass into Gaza through the Rafah
Mashaal’s visit came amid rumors that he has worn out his
welcome in Qatar, where he currently resides, and is looking for a new place to
live. Erdogan’s welcome to Mashaal goes against the unfavorable opinion most
Turks, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, have of the terrorist
A September poll of Muslim publics’ view of extremist
groups found that 73 percent of the Turkish public held an unfavorable view of
Hamas, as opposed to only 5% that viewed the group favorably.
the lowest rate of favorability for Hamas in any of the areas surveyed, which
included the Palestinian territories and 10 Arab, Asian and African
Mashaal’s meeting with Erdogan came a day after Israeli and
Palestinian negotiators met in Jerusalem for the ninth time since restarting
talks in July.
A senior Palestinian official said that the talks were
intensifying, with the negotiating teams agreeing to meet for up to eight hours
a day and to see one another more regularly than at the start of their latest
“As the Americans requested, we are upping the tempo of
the discussions,” the official said, adding that Washington would evaluate the
situation in the next two months and see how to narrow the inevitable
“So far we have achieved nothing,” he said.
Martin Indyk said at a J Street conference in Washington last week that “at the
negotiators level, the parties have engaged in direct, bilateral
We’ve agreed that those talks should now be intensified and
American involvement should be increased to facilitate these
Israeli officials, respecting the “gag order” US Secretary
of State John Kerry has effectively clamped on the talks, refused to comment on
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who met Greek Foreign
Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday, also did not refer directly during the
meeting to Monday’s discussions, and sufficed to brief him generally on the
negotiations, adding that she was “cautiously optimistic.”
contributed to this report.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!