Daily Israel Report

Abbas: Hamas Doesn't Need to Recognize Israel

PA Chairman insists that Hamas does not need to recognize Israel or renounce terrorism.
By Dalit Halevi and Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/12/2014, 4:13 AM

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas thinks that Hamas, with whom he recently signed a reconciliation pact, does not need to recognize Israel.

A senior PA official on Sunday told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that Abbas insists that Hamas does not need to recognize Israel or renounce terrorism, even after the unity pact with his Fatah movement.

The unnamed official told the newspaper about Abbas’s conversation with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who visited the region last week.

During the conversation, Abbas reportedly told Rice that Hamas will not be a part of the new unity government, nor will that government include representatives of other Palestinian Arab organizations. Rather, the official said, it will be made up of independent professionals who are politically unaffiliated.

Abbas also reportedly told Rice that he will head the new unity government and that this government will adopt his political platform which renounces violence.

Hamas part continues to be adamant over its control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA-held areas after elections, and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government. 

Rice told Abbas during their meeting last Thursday that “any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties.”

Egypt’s former foreign minister, Amr Moussa, also said last week that Hamas must recognize the existence of Israel in order to make it possible to move forward with a Palestinian state.

The PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, claimed last week that Hamas is a legitimate organization and does not carry out terrorist attacks.

Erekat’s comments were made the same day that a video was released from a children’s program on Hamas's official TV channel in which viewers were encouraged to "kill the Jews".