Hamas – or someone who can speak on their behalf – will be taking your questions today, following the appearance of Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev on yesterday’s programme.
I must say i was impressed with the level of engagement you showed with Mr Regev ; You were courteous and respectful and to the point, without compromising your strongly held opinions ; a credit to the WHYS community.
Since the programme aired , it’s being reported that a high ranking Hamas leader – Nizar Rayyan, has been killed in one of the attacks, which have continued on government buildings in Gaza, and there’s a suggestion of divisions within the Israeli leadership. the UN Security council meeting broke up without a vote on a ceasefire, though aid is getting through.
In short, there are few signs of a quick resolution but diplomacy continues : The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, is meeting the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris today — just a day after the Israelis rejected a French proposal for a forty-eight hour ceasefire in Gaza. The visit comes ahead of Mr Sarkozy’s own diplomatic mission to the Middle East, which begins on Monday. Meanwhile, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who’s on a Middle East tour aimed at halting the fighting in Gaza — is meeting President Mubarak in Egypt.
Now, getting Hamas on the programme (regulars will know they’ve been on a good few times before) isn’t as straightforward as asking Mr Regev to appear. For understandable security reasons, they spokespeople can’t be tied to one phone for an hour. There’s a language issue as well.
Hi, it’s Shaimaa here. I’ve been on the phone all day yesterday and the day before with Hamas officials and spokespeople in Gaza, Damascus and Beirut and as Mark mentioned getting them on air for an hour is very difficult. All of them told me that they basically can’t be in the same place on the same phone line for an hour as that compromises their safety. I’ll keep trying for Hamas officials and let you know if they agree on a last minute appearance.
In the meantime, Dr.Azzam Tamimi has agreed to step in for Hamas. He describes himself as a sympathiser and supporter of Hamas and is good friends with its leader Khaled Mesha’al. He’s also written a book called Hamas: Unwritten Chapters. I’ve spoken to him about what we’re doing on today’s program and he’s happy to take your questions , so keep them coming.
Hi it’s Shaimaa again. I just got off the phone with Osama Hamdan, he’s the Hamas representative in Beirut and he’s agreed to come on the program to answer your questions. He’s doing a series of interviews before World Have Your Say, but promised he’ll be on so we’ll start off with Dr.Tamimi and as soon as we get Mr.Hamdan we’ll put him through.