Hamas: We Won't Recognize Israel

Hamas reiterates it will not recognize Israel, says Americans are trying to get in the way of unity with Fatah.

Dalit Halevi and Elad Benari ,

Hamas activists
Hamas activists
Flash 90

Hamas reiterated on Saturday that it will not recognize Israel, even after it forms a unity government with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, responded to comments made by U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice during her meeting with Abbas last week.

Rice had referred to the Hamas-Fatah unity pact and said “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.”

Barhoum slammed Rice’s demand as “blatant American intervention in the internal affairs of the Palestinians."

He further accused the American government of favoring the Israeli "occupation" and said that Hamas believes the Americans are trying to sour the atmosphere of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and thwart the realization of national unity.

Hamas and Fatah recently signed a unity deal aimed at ending their seven-year rivalry, and Israel responded by pulling out of the peace talks and imposing sanctions on the PA.

Khalil Al Hayya, a Hamas official, said on Saturday that the reconciliation agreement with Fatah was a positive one because it restores attention towards “the Palestinian issue” and puts an end to a situation where decisions were made by one small group.

In addition, he said, the agreement ends the negotiations with Israel and validates “the resistance”.

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. 

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

“I believe that Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the state of Israel together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal of the occupied territory,” he said.

"If Hamas does do this, it would be a major step in the direction of formulating a favorable all-Palestinian policy towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," he added.