JERUSALEM — Advisers to Barack Obama held a secret meeting in Gaza with a leading member of Hamas during the last few weeks of the U.S. election campaign, according to the senior political adviser to Hamas's "prime minister" in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.
Ahmed Yousef told the al Hayat newspaper in London in an article published today that the meeting, was between himself and a small number of Obama foreign policy advisers. Mr. Yousef is quoted as saying the emissaries asked him not to say anything about the meetings lest it give support to Mr. Obama's rival for president, Senator John McCain.
But Mr. Obama's Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Denis McDonough told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday: "This assertion is just plain false." Speaking from Gaza, today, Ayman abu Leilah, aspokesman for Mr. Yousef, confirmed these statements as true, adding that the most recent meeting took place in early October "one month before the election." He said Mr. Yousef had first met the Obama people some years ago when he was studying in the United States. Mr. Yousef said that the connection to the Obama people is "ongoing."
Last week, Mr. Yousef said Hamas wanted to be among the first to congratulate Mr. Obama on his victory."This is an historic day, a turning point," he was quoted as saying. "Everybody is looking forward to Obama's change, for a change in the U.S. policy, particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian equation, which is the mother of all conflicts."
(…)In August, Chicago attorney Mazen Asbahi, the Muslim-outreach co-ordinator to the Obama presidential campaign, was forced to resign from his volunteer position when questions arose over his alleged involvement in an Islamic investment fund that was believed to have links to Hamas.
Here is the rub. I cannot come up with a valid reason or motive for why a Hamas spokesman would deliberate lie about his organization's association/ties to the P(E)OTUS thingy, but I can come with a number of reasons without straining my brain why the President-Elect's office would prefer to deliberately lie about such an association.