The vibrations of U.S. President Barack Obama’s “hallowing” of the June 4, 1967 borders in two speeches this past week have not yet stilled, and Hamas has already said that actually, it would prefer negotiating based on the May 13, 1948 borders.
Hamas spokesman Mahmoud A-Zahar was quoted today responding to Obama's remarks in which he called for Israel to withdraw to borders based on a combination of the 1967 borders and agreed-upon land swaps. “Now he [Obama] refers to the 1967 borders as sacred," A-Zahar told the Dubai-based Al-Emarat al-Youm website, "but who says we accept them, and that we won't speak of the '48 lines?"
"Clearly Obama's plan is no different, aside from a few small details, from that of George Bush,” A-Zahar said in dismissal of the American president’s words.
The borders to which A-Zahar refers were formulated by the United Nations in 1947 as the Partition Plan. They grant Israel about half of the Galilee, a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev - and nothing more. The cities of Ashkelon, Lod, Ramle, Ashdod, Nazareth, Meron, Telz-Stone, Beit Shemesh and most of the Jordan Valley are not Israeli, according to those borders – yet A-Zahar says Hamas is considering trying to re-negotiate them, to Israel’s detriment.
The position taken by A-Zahar is surprising in that the Hamas charter's call for the destruction of Israel does not specify that it occur in such a gradual process. A-Zahar’s announcement shows that rather than seeking a one-time liquidation of the Jewish State, as might be inferred from the charter's language, his organization might prefer to chunk away at Israel's borders piece by piece, while at the same time perpetrating deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis and forming a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.