Ignore this Palestinian at your peril

Palestinian-American Ali Abunimah, who I interviewed last year, writes about the Hamas leader’s recent speech regarding his vision for the Middle East:

Meshal welcomed a “change of tone” from President Obama but emphasized repeatedly that only a change of policy would matter. He nevertheless claimed the new tone as the fruit of the “stubborn steadfastness of the people of the region, while resisting in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.” Such resistance, according to Meshal, frustrated the former US President George W. Bush administration’s plans for regional domination, prompting American voters to seek a different path to extricate their country from mounting crises and quagmires.

He chided regional leaders who had “marketed and promoted” Bush’s policies. “Had the people of the region listened to them,” Meshal said, “the policy of Bush and the neoconservatives might have succeeded and the region’s situation would be worse than imaginable.” Meshal voiced the widespread skepticism and perhaps hopes that Obama’s promises amounted to more than the similar words about Palestine heard from the Bush Administration.

Responding to Obama’s recital of history, Meshal did not seek to deny the Nazi Holocaust but to appropriate it. He took Obama to task for dwelling in detail on the “suffering of the Jews and their holocaust in Europe, while ignoring our present suffering and Israel’s holocaust against our Palestinian people that has been continuing for decades.”