Foreign Policy

Hamas Claims Shift Away From Violence

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Good news if it pans out:

Hamas has confirmed that it will shift tactics away from violent attacks onIsrael as part of a rapprochement with the Palestinian Authority.

A spokesman for the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, told the Guardian that the Islamic party, which has controlled Gaza for the past five years, was shifting its emphasis from armed struggle to non-violent resistance.

"Violence is no longer the primary option but if Israel pushes us, we reserve the right to defend ourselves with force," said the spokesman, Taher al-Nounu. On this understanding, he said, all Palestinian factions operating in the Gaza Strip have agreed to halt the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel…..

Hamas believes the events of the Arab spring, in which uprisings have thrown off the old autocratic order and ushered in democratic, moderate Islamic governments in Tunisia and Egypt, have changed the landscape of the Middle East and is repositioning itself accordingly away from the Syria-Iran axis that has sustained it for decades, closer to the orbit of regional lslamist powers like Turkey and Qatar.

Haniya still sounding bellicose for domestic consumption, though:

This softened tone on the international stage is not yet evident in Haniya's domestic rhetoric. Speaking at a rally in Kateeba Square, Gaza City, to mark the 24th anniversary of the foundation of the movement last week, the prime minister vowed to continue the "resistance".

Reason on Hamas.