House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria Wednesday – in which she called for dialogue with Damascus – was "brave" and "very appreciated" and could bring about "important changes" to America's foreign policy, including talks with "Middle East resistance groups," according to members of Palestinian terror organizations whose top leaders live in Syria.
One terror leader, Khaled Al-Batch, a militant and spokesman for Islamic Jihad, expressed hope Pelosi would
continue winning elections, explaining the House speaker's Damascus visit demonstrated she understands the Middle East.
Pelosi's visit was opposed by President Bush, who called Syria a "state sponsor of terror."
"Nancy Pelosi understands the area (Middle East) well, more than Bush and Dr. (Condoleezza) Rice," said Al-Batch, speaking to WND from Gaza. "If the Democrats want to make negotiations with Syria, Hamas, and Hizbullah, this means the Democratic Party understands well what happens in this area and I think Pelosi will succeed. ... I hope she wins the next elections."
Islamic Jihad has carried out scores of shootings and rocket attacks, and, together with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years.
Ramadan Shallah, overall chief of Islamic Jihad, lives in Syria, as does Hamas chieftain Khaled Mashaal. Israel has
accused the Syrian-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership of ordering militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to carry out terror attacks.
Al-Batch expressed hope Pelosi and the Democratic Party will pressure Bush to create dialogue with Syria and Middle East "resistance movements" and prompt an American withdrawal from Iraq.
"Bush and Dr. Rice made so many mistakes in the Middle East. Just look at Palestinian clashes and Iraq. But I think some changes are happening for the Bush administration's foreign policy because of the hand of Nancy Pelosi. I think the Democratic Party can do things the best. ... Pelosi is going down a good road by this policy of dialogue," he said.
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the willingness by some lawmakers to talk with Syria "is proof of the importance of the resistance against the US.
"The Americans know and understand they are losing in Iraq and the Middle East and that their only chance to survive is to reduce hostilities with Arab countries and with Islam. Islam is the new giant of the world," he said.
"Pelosi's visit to Syria was very brave. She is a brave woman," Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the infamous leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, told WND.
"I think it's very nice and I think it's much better when you sit face to face and talk to (Syrian President Bashar) Assad. It's a very good idea. I think she is brave and hope all the people will support her. All the American people must make peace with Syria and Iran and with Hamas. Why not?" Jaara said.
Pelosi, the most senior US official to visit Syria in two years, sat next to Assad on Wednesday in front of camera crews before starting their meeting at his hilltop palace overlooking Damascus. The Syrian president then reportedly took Pelosi to lunch at a restaurant in a restored house in Damascus' historic district, according to witnesses.
At a press conference after the meeting, Pelosi said that during her talks with Assad she "determined that the road to Damascus is the road to peace."
"We came in friendship, hope," she said.
Bush criticized visits by Pelosi and other lawmakers saying they sent "mixed messages" to the region and undermined US policy.
"Photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they're part of the mainstream of the international community," Bush told reporters in Washington. "In fact, they're a state sponsor of terror."
Pelosi is not the only lawmaker to recently visit Syria. A congressional delegation including three Republicans traveled to Damascus Sunday stating they believe there is an opportunity for dialogue with the Syrian leadership.
Last month, Ellen Sauerbrey, the US assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, held talks in Damascus in a public gesture widely seen as an expression of Washington's willingness to engage Damascus.
Reprinted with permission of WorldNetDaily