As reported today in Ha'Aretz, the London-based Arab daily newspaper Al-Hayat quotes a senior Hamas official, Ahmed Yusuf, a political advisor to Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, as saying that aides to President-elect Barack Obama met with members of Hamas in Gaza prior to the Presidential election. According to Yusuf, the meeting was kept secret so as not to help Republican nominee John McCain. Yusuf further stated that the relations were maintained after Obama's election victory.
During his campaign, Obama had said that his administration would only hold talks with Hamas if it renounced terrorism, recognized Israel's right to exist, and abided by past agreements. Technically, but only so, pre-election and pre-Inaugeration meetings with Hamas in Gaza would not breach that pledge, since until the President-elect is actually inaugerated, he cannot be said to have an administration. However, it totally violates the spirit of Obama's statement, and bodes poorly for the future.