Photo: AFP
Aboul Gheit. Optimistic
Photo: AFP

Egyptian official: Hamas to recognize Israel

Egyptian foreign minister says in interview to Arabic newspaper al-Shark al-Awsat that once Hamas enters Palestinian Legislative Council it is set to transform, change its ideas and concepts and recognize Israel

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit is convinced Hamas is set to recognize Israel's right to exist, and believes the organization "could live with the idea of negotiations with Israel."


In interview to Arabic language London-based newspaper al-Shark al-Awsat, Aboul Gheit said that "there is no need to keep this matter blurred, especially after Hamas has agreed to a calm with Israel, in order to hold talks."


"I ask – was this agreement reached with a ghost?" Aboul Gheit rhetorically asked.


In the interview, Aboul Gheit said he estimates Hamas is set to change its policy once it becomes part of the Palestinian Authority Legislative Council.


"I am convinced that in the political realm Hamas will act entirely differently than it has while engaging in armed struggle…accession of an armed movement to the political and parliamentary process is bound to prompt changes within it," he added, saying this political process will lead to a substantial change in Hamas' ideas and concepts.


No comments on post-Sharon era


When asked whether he believes there was an American-European plan aimed at weakening the PA, Aboul Gheit said he did not think such plan existed.


"I believe that the West follows closely the election process in the PA, like it has in Egypt," he said.


Aboul Gheit has also estimated in the interview that by May-June, and after elections take place in Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian arena will be ready for a diplomatic breakthrough.


The foreign minister was also asked to comment on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's condition, but refused to say whether President Hosni Mubarak will attend Sharon's funeral if he dies, saying "this is not something we can speak of as long as the man is alive."


Aboul Gheit also said he will not make any hypothetical assumptions regarding the post-Sharon era.


פרסום ראשון: 01.21.06, 22:26
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