Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are busy preparing for President Barack Obama’s visit, but as it turns out, Hamas is also keeping a close watch on the American president’s visit. Al-Monitor has learned that the head of the movement’s Politburo, Khaled Meshaal, and his deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk are actively seeking to foster a lobby, consisting of both American and international figures, which will lead to the removal of Hamas from the US list of terrorist organizations, or at least they hope it will.
Not a single leader of the movement in Gaza and overseas has fooled himself into believing that Obama’s visit will lead to any significant diplomatic breakthrough. It seems, however, that they are looking forward toward a more distant future, in which the movement wins international recognition. The first obstacle they face is Hamas’s inclusion in the list of terrorist organizations, created by the United States and updated every two years. The middleman doing everything he can to advance this cause is none other than the Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was also the first Arab leader to “break the siege” on Gaza since Hamas came to power by arriving there for a visit. During that visit the Qatari emir received the royal treatment. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh himself volunteered to drive him on his tours throughout Gaza, and in exchange the emir showered his hosts with millions. Now al-Thani is using his power and influence to convince senators, congressmen, and other political leaders throughout the United States that removing Hamas from the terrorist blacklist will help foster reconciliation between it and Fatah, and as a result, advance negotiations with Israel.