Mashaal, My Belle

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The Globe & Mail breaks out the violins for Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas politburo chief.

Pass the tissues. Patrick Martin continues:

Mr. Meshaal will leave office at a sensitive time, just when his relative moderation may most be needed.

The quiet, intense man has been pivotal in efforts to reconcile with the secular Palestine Liberation Organization, and even has prodded Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad to usher in political reforms rather than attack his own people . . .

Compared to Sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi, both refugees in Gaza camps, Mr. Meshaal, born in a village north of Ramallah in the West Bank, is a moderate, and this may explain his voluntary swan song now.

According to the G&M, Mashaal’s moderation came to the fore in 2009, when he argued against sending suicide bombers to Israel  after Operation Cast Lead:

With hundreds of Gazans killed by Israeli aerial bombing, rocket and mortar attacks and few Israeli casualties, many thought Hamas would bring out the one weapon in its historic arsenal to have claimed many Israeli lives and struck fear in the whole country – suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Beginning in 1994 and ending in 2005, Hamas had carried out several dozen such attacks and inspired other groups to do the same.

But Hamas members of parliament said that Mr. Meshaal had ordered an end to such attacks in 2005. Despite the pummelling Hamas was enduring in Gaza, he had no intention of resorting to the deadly tactic that gave Hamas its notoriety for violence, according to those parliamentarians.

Indeed, not during that time, nor any time since, has Hamas carried out a suicide attack against Israeli civilians. It’s now coming up to seven years.

Everyone — except the Globe & Mail — knows that the drop off in terror was because of Israeli measures like the security barrier. Even Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Shalah acknowledged that the lack of suicide bombings was only because of the lack of ability, not desire.

Besides, why deal in martyrdom operations when you can fire thousands of rockets at Israel?

Khaled, we hardly knew ye.

Send your considered comments to the Globe & Mail – letters@globe@mail.com

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Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, Wikimedia Commons/Trango.

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