Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail HaniyehIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Gaza de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is running as a candidate to replace Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in the group's upcoming elections, says the terrorist group will “never recognize Israel.”  Haniyeh arrived Friday in Tehran on an official visit as part of his tour of the Middle East.

Having abandoned his longtime office in Damascus as the 11-month uprising in that country rapidly escalates into a full-scale civil war, Haniyeh has been on a regionwide search to find a new home for the terrorist organization's political bureau. At last report, it appeared that Qatar has agreed to host the group's politburo headquarters.

Speaking to a crowd from the podium of Azadi Square in Tehran on Saturday, Haniyeh announced, “They want us to recognize the Israeli occupation and cease resistance but, as the representative of the Palestinian people and in the name of all the world's freedom seekers... we will never recognize Israel.”

Haniyeh, whose remarks were made to commemorate Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, added, "The resistance will continue until all Palestinian land, including al-Quds (Jerusalem) has been liberated and all the refugees have returned.”

Although the stance was a simple repetition of the Hamas charter, it underscores the increased risk to the citizens of the State of Israel posed by the new Palestinian Authority “unity government” agreement signed last week by Hamas together with the Ramallah-based Fatah faction.

Hamas has long been a beneficiary of Iran's generosity both financially and in materiel; both are committed to Israel's annihilation.

The United States has spent several years providing military training, equipment and technical support to security forces of the Fatah-led PA government, hoping for the day a new PA state would arise in peace alongside the State of Israel.