Abbas in Damascus: Processing right along

I learn from David Hornik’s excellent Frontpage column that Mahmoud Abbas was in Damascus this week. According to Hornik, “Abbas was in Damascus to meet with Bashar Assad and with leaders of three anti-Israeli, anti-American, anti-Western terrorist organizations — Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — to discuss achieving unity between two other terrorist organizations, Hamas and his own Fatah.” Hornik links to the Jerusalem Post story by Khaled Abu Toameh on Abbas’s meeting with the Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Abdullah Shalah — a member of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about Abbas’s Damascus meetings, Hornik helpfully explains:

[T]here’s nothing sexy here for the international media, nothing you can spin into “Palestinians seek peace, but Israel keeps building settlements” or “Moderate Palestinians and Israelis seek peace, but both need to curb their extremists.”

Abbas apparently did not meet with the head of Hamas, who is also holed up in Damascus. Secretary Rice reportedly “set a limit on Abbas’s activities in Damascus by warning him not to meet there with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, with which Abbas complied.” If accurate, this would imply that Rice approved of Abbas’s meeting with Shalah.

Someone who reports the news for a living really should ask Bush administration spokesmen for their view of Abbas’s get-togethers in Damascus.

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