In 2008, Hamas was so hopeful about a future Obama administration the group’s chief political adviser, Ahmed Yousef, famously “endorsed” then-candidate Barack Obama for office, calling the politician a “great man” with a “vision to change America.”
Upon Obama’s re-election, however, the Islamist group’s expectations of the U.S. president seem to have diminished.
During a radio interview yesterday, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Hamas’s senior leader in Gaza, explained he was “not too much optimistic” about what the future holds with Obama in the White House.
Stated Zahar: “We are respecting the will of the American people but we are not too much optimistic about his positive interference to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and to stop the expansion of the settlements.”
Zahar was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
He continued: “Obama in his first term supplied the Israelis with the most sophisticated material more than any other leader. We have a big suspicion about his direct interference in order to help the Palestinian issue and to change his attitude concerning the reconciliation and the confiscation of our land.”
Asked whether he believes that a second Obama term will bring direct dialogue between the White House and Hamas, Zahar replied, “We have no objection but we have a big doubt about that.”
“They (Americans) are respecting all democracy everywhere but once democracy is aided by the Hamas win in the 2006 legislative council they refused and they made a siege on the Gaza Strip since that time. We are ready to speak to everybody but I think he (Obama) has to satisfy the Israelis first and Israel is against that.”
Hamas is on the State Departments list of official terrorist organizations. The group is responsible for scores of violent attacks targeting civilians, including dozens of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza the last three days. The official Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year said U.S. talks with Hamas are ruled out unless the Islamist group renounces violence, recognizes Israel and affirms it will abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.