Hamas leader lines up with PA’s position
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh just called a rare press conference to announce that if a deal made with Israel by the Fatah-led PA was approved in a Palestine referendum, Hamas would accept the result.
He clearly defined Hamas’s position in terms much the same as those that the PA says it upholds: “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees.”
This constitutes an implicit recognition not only of Israel as constituted but of its rights to negotiate over land that it took by force. There is no right of return of the 1948 refugees (simply “resolution of the issue”), nor any mention of equal rights for Palestinians within Israel.
The reports quote Haniyeh saying “Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles”, but it is not clear whether these positions were stated as Hamas’s current “ideology and principles” or as something they would respect if it was agreed by a referendum of Palestinians (in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora).
Nor is it clear whether they would campaign for a No vote on a deal that fell short of this bottom line.
This development is a test for Israel: if they really wanted to make peace, this is a chance to engage with Hamas as well as Fatah.
But it also poses a question for Hamas. If they are willing to settle for half a state as long as it’s called Palestine, could they not invert that — keep the country whole, and agree to share it democratically?
Spinwatch has chapter and verse of all Hamas’s statements since 2006
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