May 16, 2011 No Comments by

Mahmoud Zahar

(From Emet News Service)
Leaders of the Hamas terrorist group made it clear last week they would never recognize the existence of the nation of Israel. In an interview with the Arab news agency MA’AN, Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said that while Hamas would be willing to accept an Arab state within the “1967 borders”, Hamas would never recognize Israel since such a move would counter the group’s aim to “liberate” all of “Palestine”. The Hamas leader said that recognizing Israel would jeopardize the right of return for Arab ‘refugees’ who have been “exiled” from the land since 1948 when Israel was recognized by the United Nations.

If only Arabs in Judea and Samaria and Gaza are considered citizens of an Arab state, he continued, “what will be the fate of the five million Palestinians in the Diaspora?” At the same time, the Hamas leader confirmed the decision reached with Fatah to maintain the truce with Israel, calling the move “part of the resistance, not a cancellation,” and noting that “truce is not peace.” The Hamas leader, however, reiterated that the truce was “part of the resistance not its rejection,” adding that a “truce is not peace.” Speaking in an interview with the Iranian news service FNA, a senior Arab legislator and member of the Fatah terrorist group underlined on Monday that Fatah and Hamas share the same view on Israel as neither one recognizes the Israeli regime as a state. “No one in Fatah and Hamas movements recognizes Israel,” Abdullah Abdullah told FNA when asked if the so-called Fatah-Israel peace talks would continue, given Hamas’s opposition to the process. [This is in direct opposition to what the United States, Britain and others proclaim regarding Fatah’s stance on recognizing Israel.–ed] The comments came as Arabs and the international community await details of a unity agreement signed by Hamas and its former rival Fatah. The deal, signed in Cairo on May 4, paved the way for the creation of a unity government that will see the Hamas-led government in Gaza and the Fatah-led cabinet in Judea and Samaria dissolved and replaced by a single cabinet of independent technocrats. The new body will set a path to elections within the year, as committees established by the deal work to unify the Arab security forces in the two Arab-occupied territories and set a government platform which will include the reconstruction of Gaza. Already, officials announced that a deal had been made which will see the release of political prisoners from both areas within the week.

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al this week warned Israel that it has one more year to recognize an independent Arab state. If Israel fails to do so, Hamas will “add new cards to the resistance,” Masha’al told a group of young Egyptians who took part in the recent overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak. Ma’an further quoted Masha’al as saying the Arab state Israel recognizes must include 100 percent of Judea, Samaria, and the entire eastern half of Jerusalem. Israeli leaders say the reconciliation agreement and the possible formation of unity government including Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah group has effectively killed all chances of a bilateral peace agreement. Israelis also argue that the deal is further evidence of the true goals of Abbas and his allegedly “moderate” leadership.

Representatives of Arab groups will meet in Cairo next week, where committees of delegates will be appointed to see through the implementation of a unity deal signed in the Egyptian capital the previous week. Head of the coalition of independent figures Abdul-Aziz Shiqaqi said in a statement Monday that the first committee to be appointed would be charged with the construction of a new PA/PLO cabinet, including prime minister and cabinet posts. Four other committees will also be appointed, Shiqaqi’s statement said, to lay down rules and guidelines for elections, to restructure the PA/PLO, to reformulate a national security force and a fourth to create and maintain an atmosphere of unity, likely to include a commission on the release of political prisoners. “The new cabinet, according to the agreement signed in Cairo, will prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections, resolve internal conflicts resulting from long years of rivalry, rebuild the Gaza Strip, and re-unite the institutions of the Palestinian Authority,” Shiqaqi said. Following the appointment of the committees and the launch of their work, Shiqaqi said an Egyptian delegation would visit the Gaza Strip and supervise the implementation of the agreement, and oversee any “obstacles that come up.”

Last week, 27 US Senators sent a letter to US President Barack Obama demanding that US financial aid to the PA/PLO be halted if Hamas is brought back into the government. “It is imperative for you to make clear to Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of US aid,” wrote the senators. All Republican senators and about half of Democratic senators support cutting aid to a PA/PLO that includes Hamas. The lawmakers reminded Obama that it is actually illegal to give US aid to those listed as terrorists by the US State Department, which Hamas is [although it does give aid to Fatah, whose sub-group, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, is designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department-ed]. [FNA, Ma’an, Ha’aretz]

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About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.

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