How long before the U.S. starts talking to Hamas?

Those alarmists who search for a “tsunami” can view this as the first wave. That is because the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother organization of Hamas, and the next question that will arise is why America shouldn’t speak with Hamas. After all, Hamas is an integral part of Palestinian politics and society, and has also won a decisive majority in election balloting; and now, after its reconciliation with Fatah, Hamas will vie in the next Palestinian parliamentary elections. The official excuse for a no-discussion policy is that Hamas has not denounced terror as a means of attaining political objectives, and that it also does not recognize the state of Israel – neither as a Jewish state nor as a state at all. At first glance, these are compelling justifications. Yet the Muslim Brotherhood does not exactly view Israel as the Jewish state either. The Muslim Brotherhood does not uphold terror, but it does not view the armed Palestinian struggle as terror. Rather, the Muslim Brotherhood sees it as a liberation struggle against occupation. And if terror is the yardstick, how can Washington justify its cooperation with the Lebanese government, which includes Hezbollah, a group listed by the United States as a terror organization?

The contradictions in U.S. foreign policy are not the key point. Instead, the crux of the matter is the way Washington is drawing its new map of enemies and friends. To be precise, the United States isn’t drawing the map – instead, developments in the Arab world are compelling America to revisit its policy in the region. What has been happening in Cairo, cities in Syria, and in Bahrain does not stem from planned American policy; these are venues where American policy is refashioning itself, and those who claim that policy will soon be compelled to reconsider their position on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Washington defines enemies and friends not just for itself; its foreign policy positions become a road map for other countries of the world.