PA Prime Minister designate Ismail Haniyah, of the Hamas terror group and political party, told CBS on March 16th that he hoped to some day sign a peace agreement with Israel. In his CBS interview, Haniyah said that he was "seeking a peace settlement and stability in this region"; "looking forward to peace and tranquility in this region"; and "seeking American administration to create this missing peace."

According to a subsequent article in Al Hayat Al Jadida – translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), [Hamas] Member of Parliament Mushir Al-Masri denied the moderate statedments attributed to the Haniyah.

Al Masri said that these statements, released on CBS, are unfounded . He claims that these matters are part of a crazy campaign which aims at embarrassing and confusing the Palestinian arena and undermining the trust of the masses in Hamas movement.

He states, "the Palestinian media grasps that this campaign should not be related to… and it understands that America endeavors to undermine the [Hamas] movement in the eyes of the Palestinian people…

As to the PM's statements, which have been distorted, Al-Masri said: "the American channel [CBS] broadcast that Sheikh Ismail Haniyah had said in an interview that he hoped that a treaty with Israel would be signed in the White House. I believe that the basis for the controversy over the [Hamas] political plan are the [peace] agreements, which in our opinion bring no benefit…”

PMW Director Itamar Marcus said that Hamas’ behavior is not surprising. “It should be noted that the reason for this strong rejection of the willingness for peace with Israel is that it violates the most basic tenet of Hamas' belief, that Islam demands the destruction of Israel,” he said.

“Article 13 of the Hamas charter states: ". . . Renouncing any part of Palestine [i.e. accepting Israel] means renouncing part of the religion." Hamas would have to scrap and recreate the basis of its religious ideology to accept Israel.

It should be noted that while former PLO Yassir Arafat would regularly make overtures toward compromise in English, while expressing the opposite in Arabic, Hamas has refused to do so on the same scale. This has not stopped Western journalists from trying to detect and broadcast moderation in the Hamas leadership's stance following its landslide election victory.