Hamas supports Palestine ‘next to Israel’
Though still refusing to officially recognize Israel’s existence, in a letter to the EU Hamas offers to espouse the alternate wording of ‘establishing a Palestinian state next to Israel’ support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel; Palestinian source: Russia behind initiative
The Palestinian government under the Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, according to a message reportedly transferred by Hamas to the European Union via various Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Ynet has learned.
A Palestinian source told Ynet Friday that the message declared the Palestinians’ willingness to openly and officially endorse the establishment of Palestine on the borders of June 1967, as long as they did not have to publicly and officially recognize Israel’s right to exist.
According to the Palestinian source, Hamas has decided it would consent to this phrasing –"the recognition of a Palestinian state next to Israel” – in order to bypass the international demand to officially recognize Israel’s existence. The letter notes that ensuing political negotiations would be steered by the PLO and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the source said.
Russia was apparently involved in convincing Hamas to adopt this phrasing of accepting in principle neighboring Palestinian and Israeli states, without recognizing Israel, the source said, and in return, the Russians played an important role in the Quartet’s decision to grant the PA a special aid package, and promised to urge the renewal international aid.
Hamas hopes for renewed ties with EU
The Palestinian cabinet and Hamas hope that the next step after receiving financial aid from Russian and their other allies in the Gulf, an official channel of contact would open with the European Union that will allow renewed funding of the PA.
The source noted that Hamas committed to maintaining calm among the Palestinian factions, and enforcing the Islamic Jihad, which has been responsible for all suicide bomb attacks in Israel in the past year, to refrain from terrorism, on the condition that financial aid was renewed.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad recently reached an understanding that if financial support is resumed, the Jihad would also commit to the cease-fire. The agreement was reached by leaders of the organization abroad, which are generally thought to be more fanatical.
In recent days, especially since the last meeting between Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas is holding heated discussions on instituting an official stance that would hopefully ease the international community’s isolation of the Palestinian government, without surrendering its position against recognizing Israel. Hamas has addressed the issue in public this week as well. Hamas parliament speaker Khaled Suleiman said that his party has no problem in recognizing a Palestinian state next to Israel according to the 1967 borders.