Somebody talks to Hamas, hold the front page!

The Australian Murdoch press is so clueless. This story, appearing on page 2 of today’s Australian newspaper, is a supposed scoop:

A senior East Timorese government minister wanted to advise the Palestinian militant group Hamas while employed by the World Bank.

Based in the West Bank in 2006, Emilia Pires, a dual Australian citizen, now East Timor’s Finance Minister, wrote to a friend saying she wanted to help Palestinians including by meeting Hamas ministers to give them “some real advice”.

Details of Ms Pires’s attempts to contact Hamas are contained in an email dated December 18, 2006, a copy of which was obtained by The Australian.

Attempts to call Ms Pires were unsuccessful, although an aide in Dili did not deny the email’s authenticity.

It reveals Ms Pires’s hopes of a promotion and another lucrative UN job and expresses her frustration at not being able to meet Hamas ministers. “Unfortunately I am not accessing Hamas ministers, but I sure wish I could,” she writes. “I could give them some real advice, I think — but maybe it’s not the time yet.”

Perhaps the journalist would like to be reminded that Hamas won a democratic election in 2006 and engagement with them makes sense then and now. It’s called accepting the will of the Palestinian people.

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