Well, this is an interesting development. In a speech yesterday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for a "national dialogue" with Hamas. Taher Nuna, a Hamas spokesman, called Abbas' proposal a "positive step". For his part, Abbas is promising new legislative and presidential elections if discussions are successful.
Needless to say, Abbas has completely broadsided the U.S. and Israel as they have tried to bolster Abbas while isolating Hamas. I have never believed Abbas to be a partner in peace. Bush was adroit in his judgement of Arafat but when it comes to Abbas both he and Condi Rice are wearing blinders. Of course, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before he leaves office could temper reaction to the War in Iraq although I seriously doubt that. However, I'm sure Abbas was in part motivated by the fact that Bush will be leaving office in seven months and Olmert might not survive his latest political scandal. But Abbas has occasionally sought out Hamas from time to time and can no more be part of a lasting peace with Israel than Arafat could. The Bush Administration has rightly taken another Mahmoud to task for wanting to wipe Israel off the map. Why don't they take this Mahmoud to task over his Ph.d thesis in which he denied the Holocaust and accused Jewish leaders of collaborating with the Nazis?