Khaled Meshal, leader of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, thanked the "new language” exhibited by American President Barack Obama toward the Middle East as it might spark a “frank exchange” on U.S. and European policy toward the organization (22 March Europe Press). In an even more significant show of restraint and patience, he noted that direct contact with the new Hamas government is only a matter of time. For its part, the leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, called on the European Union to make the “courageous decision” to remove Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations and called for an "improvement" of their mutual contacts. (IAR-Noticias 24 March).
Both of these important statements are in response to Obama’s video to Iran, which offers to start from scratch to improve relations with the Islamic world in general and Iran in particular. In a pedagogical BBC analysis from Paul Reynolds, the speech has been regarded as “imaginative.” The piece attempts to read between the lines of the careful language used by Obama to recognize the enormous obstacles ahead. But, as recognized by the leadership of Hamas, a breakdown of how to deal with the Islamic world is characteristic of previous U.S. administrations and in particular the Bush family. There is extreme care in every word down to even the most specific meaning of each offer, the principle of which is recognized as an open opportunity for diplomacy and dialogue. Again “the art of politics” is the most powerful weapon in the hands of people of goodwill to achieve peace. The Middle East deserves it.