I’m skeptical, not because I think they’re opposed on principle but because they’d worry about people finding out. That’s why half of them voted for the Iraq war. Fear of being seen as soft.

It’s not like they’d having nothing to talk about, though.

Hamas met with a delegation of “important Democrats” who expressed interest in relations with the Palestinian terror group even if it doesn’t recognize the right of Israel to exist, a Palestinian news website claimed today.

Maannews quoted a source in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority stating the terror group felt it important to meet with members of the Democratic Party since, the Hamas source said, the party will likely win 2008 presidential elections…

According to the report, the alleged meeting with the Democrats took place in a European country following a series of preliminary meetings with representatives from the British and French governments.

The source told Maannews the Democrats expressed an understanding with the Hamas principal of not recognizing Israel and applauded Hamas’ willingness to accept a long-term cease-fire with the Jewish state in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to what is known as the pre-1967 borders…

Never mind who the Democrats are meeting with. Who’s the GOP meeting with? And what are they talking about with them?

Officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel from a Middle East peace conference garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East.

“He [Cheney] didn’t even get the opportunity to seriously discuss the purpose of his visit—that the Saudis help the Iraqi government and persuade the Sunnis to stop their attacks,” another official familiar with Mr. Cheney’s visit said. “Instead, the Saudis kept saying that they wanted a U.S. initiative to stop the Israelis’ attack in Gaza and Cheney just agreed.”

It wouldn’t surprise me at this point. That quote, in fact, comes from the Insight mag article linked on Drudge that notes the Baker Commission’s plan for a grand conference of all key Middle Eastern nations — except one. And given that it’s Jim Baker’s idea, you shouldn’t have to ask which one it is.

They made a casual reference in the report to the right of return too, wouldn’t you know. Just slipped it in there in Recommendation 17 as a jumping-off point for dialogue. Which was smart thinking because Khaled Meshaal said earlier this week that without the right of return, not even the creation of a Palestinian state will stop Hamas from restarting the intifada.

So there’s a lot to talk about.