The Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas, which has said it favors the destruction of Israel, won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections...
" ... it's far better for Hamas to come to power via the ballot box than the gun. The election holds out the possibility of moderation -- and also the possibility that the leaders of Hamas will come to learn what Bush seems not to understand: that freedom isn't a gift. It is an achievement.
... while in Egypt, she says she intends to express her disappointment that Egyptian leaders postponed municipal elections after the Muslim Brotherhood made a strong showing in parliamentary elections in December. She plans a high-profile meeting in Cairo with Egyptian opposition figures to make the point that, as she put it last week, "Egypt... needs to keep pushing ahead on the democratic course, because it is a great civilization and a great people and it can lead the democratic progress in the Arab world and I would hope that it will do that."
.... Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil went to Gaza as the hostilities raged and met with Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and other Hamas leaders, the official pointed out. "We believe that they have the stature, the credibility, and the relationships to be able to persuade Hamas and its allies to stop. Our message to them has been: Use it. Use those things.
"We recognize they can’t simply snap their fingers, that this is a back and forth, it’s a process. There are other actors involved like the Turks and the Qataris who also have a role to play. But Egypt’s role is absolutely pivotal. I think the discussions with them have been constructive and they have been open to listening to our perspective."
The view from America and from Cairo may not necessarily align in every respect, he added. "But we share a fundamental interest in de-escalating the situation. And I think they are taking steps to try to do that."
In any case the multiple crises in the Middle East are linked, he said. "Syria cannot be viewed in isolation. Gaza cannot be viewed in isolation. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon cannot be viewed in isolation. All have impacts on one another." And that said, with so much happening in the region – it is in every country's interest to de-escalate the situation in Gaza, he summed up.
"The Palestinian people sacrifice martyrs everyday in the fight for its rights," [Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil] said at a press conference jointly held with Haniyeh outside Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital. "Egypt will stand by the Palestinian people until they attain all their legitimate rights."