Palestinian Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday that his group will never "repeat Fatah's mistake of recognizing Israel."
In a militant interview, which was conducted soon after the IDF's shelling of Beit Hanoun, al-Zahar explained why his group has no intension of recognizing Israel, accept a two-state solution and to accept the partition resolution adopted by the United Nations.
When asked what will happen if international pressure on Hamas increases, he said: "Hamas will never change its position regardless of the pressure's intensity."
He was asked about the Arab peace initiative which calls for recognition of Israel based on the principle of land for peace and said: "We will never recognize the Arab initiative. We ask what is its real value? And the answer is: nothing, because America and Israel rejected it. Also, we will not accept something called 'recognizing Israel'."
Even if the solution is one of two states?
"We can establish a Palestinian state on a foot of land of the liberated land."
And if there is solution that include the establishment of a Palestinian within the 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital?
"We will declare a hudna but we will never recognize Israel."
Do you think that Israel will leave the territories in return for a hudna?
"Fatah recognized Israel and gave up, but the occupation continues all the time. We should not return to this failed experience."
The interviewer asked al-Zahar what is his solution to the conflict and how long would it take to achieve that solution. Al-Zahar said, "The problem is that the Israeli side doesn't want a solution and in the past it rejected the road map and Oslo. They have no peace plan and therefore we cannot speak of imaginary solutions. Our plan is known. We believe we have the historical right, but if we can't achieve a victory now, we shouldn't achieve defeat."
"Based on that, resistance will expel the occupation from everywhere and there we will set up a government without giving up our rights both for the land and of return, but if the world asks Hamas, and if this is in the interest of the Palestinian people, we can give a hudna but not recognition."
He added that Hamas rejects the United Nations partition of November 1947 as well as Resolution 242.
He criticized the international community and international organizations saying Hamas doesn't recognize their legitimacy.
"We will never be slaves of the international community which adopted about 31 veto resolutions in favor of Israel."
He summarized five principles which could form a common ground for Hamas and Fatah to cooperate: "If it is agreed to renew negotiations, Abbas will do so, but the PLO will not be the source of authority for these talks, but the Legislative Council or a referendum."
He said that Hamas is not solely ruled by Khaled Mashaal, adding that the leadership in the Gaza Strip and else where have as much say.
He said that although the Palestinian Authority attempted to collect illegal arms in the past, "no one will be able to collect a single arm from a Palestinian sol long the occupation exists."
On another front he confirmed that Iran financially supports the Hamas government: "We use the money to pay employees, but we do not get military aid from them, because it simply cannot reach us."
He said should presidential elections be held Hamas would win hands-up: "If presidential elections are held, Hamas will win and that's clear, and that is because when we call for marches many people answer our call. That's no joke, but reality. If we ask the Palestinian people, 'Do you accept recognition of Israel?' and our political plan was always that we won't, at least 70 percent of the Palestinian people would say, 'We will not recognize Israel.'"
Asked about kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit he said: "The Arab media made a mistake and has to correct it, because the problem is not related to the Israeli soldier, but to the fate of 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in the occupation prisons. All previous attempts to free them failed, until the issue of the soldier brought the issue back for discussion. We don't believe Israel and we will not release the soldier until an agreement is reach and 1,000 prisoners are release in two or three rounds. What is important is to secure real guarantees for this release. We didn't set specific prisoner names, but we want to release all prisoners aged under 18, women and sick prisoners."
Asked about allegations that Syria is applying pressure on Hamas not to release Shalit, Al-Zahar said: "Those speaking about a channel with Egypt or Syria on this issue, are mistaken because it is Israel who's failed the prisoners' issue. When it meets all our demands … the problem will be solved."