Hamas and Israel: Can they do a deal? – UpFront


Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan on the new unity government and Trump, and Guy Verhofstadt discusses the EU and Brexit.

In this week’s UpFront, Mehdi Hasan speaks to Hamas senior leader and spokesman Osama Hamdan, who discusses the new Palestinian unity government and how Hamas will “very soon” be releasing a new charter.

In the Reality Check, we examine the rising tide of populism and the elitist conservatives who have hijacked it.

And in a discussion on the European Union, we are joined by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who is now the lead EU parliament negotiator on Brexit.

Headliner – Hamas: Palestinians ‘will not abandon Jerusalem’

In mid-January, rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah announced the creation of a new unity government. But can the two groups, who have reconciled before only to fall out again, make it work this time?

“In politics, no one can say that ‘I’m sure 100 percent’, but you have to try,” says Hamdan, who is also a spokesman for Hamas. “Now we came to this crash point and we both understand we need as Palestinians a national unity government.”

Hamdan says that US President Donald Trump, who has talked about moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, needs to choose between making peace or adding “more oil to the fire”.

“He knows that Jerusalem is the key for peace,” Hamdan tells UpFront. “He has to make his choice: If he wants to be the president who creates peace in the region, or the president who added more oil to the fire.”

In this week’s Headliner, we talk to Hamas senior leader Osama Hamdan.

Reality Check – The rise of ‘fake’ populism

Across the US and Europe, waves of people are rallying behind so-called populist leaders.

But are these leaders “men and women of the people”, or right-wing elitists masquerading under the guise of populism?

In this week’s Reality Check, we reveal how some of their backgrounds and positions put them closer to “fake” populists than ordinary folk.

Can the EU survive the populist wave?

With the eurozone still an economic mess, the rise of anti-EU parties and the UK on the way out, the European Union may be in trouble.

So, with populist leaders expressing disdain for the EU, Brexit and an assertive Russia, what does the future hold for the European Union?

Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament and its chief negotiator for Brexit, in addition to being the former prime minister of Belgium, says he is optimistic about the future of the EU, but that it faces an “existential threat”.

“We are squeezed, for the moment, between an American president – a populist – saying, ‘Oh, I believe in the further disintegration of the European Union’,” says Verhofstadt, “and on the other hand, an autocrat – Putin – who wants to destroy the European Union.”

Faced with these threats, the EU must “get its act together” and become a “real union”, or else disappear, he says.

“People need a vision, a project, that shows them how we can escape the challenges that they are facing: Migration flows, economic fallout, and so on,” says Verhofstadt. “You have to recognise weaknesses of the current European Union before you can launch a new vision for the future.”

“I believe we can get our act together, and then we can build up a European Union that can be an example of a supernational organisation worldwide.”

MEP and lead Brexit negotiator for the EP, Guy Verhofstadt, discusses the future of the European Union.

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Source: Al Jazeera News

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