Obama might establish channel of communication with Hamas

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London, Jan 9 (ANI): Sources close to US President-elect Barrack Obama's transition team have said that he is likely to establish a channel for communicating with the Islamist organization Hamas in Palestine.

According to a report in the Guardian, the incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas, by opening contacts with the organization.

The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush presidency's ostracizing of the group.

The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006, Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.

There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracizing Hamas is counter-productive.

A potential contender for a -foreign policy role in the Obama administration suggested that the president-elect would not be bound by the Bush doctrine of isolating Hamas.

"This is going to be an administration that is committed to negotiating with -critical parties on critical issues," the source said.

A tested course would be to start contacts through Hamas and the US intelligence services, similar to the secret process through which the US engaged with the PLO in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, a UN resolution was agreed last night at the UN, calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire between Hamas and Israeli forces in Gaza.

The resolution was passed, though the US, represented by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, abstained.

The two weeks since Israel began its military campaign against Gaza have heightened anticipation about how Obama intends to deal with the Middle East.

He adopted a strongly pro-Israel position during the election campaign, as did his erstwhile opponent and choice for secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

But, it is widely thought Obama would adopt a more even-handed approach once he is president. (ANI)

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