Hamas Accepts 1967 Borders, but Will Never Recognize Israel, Top Official Says

Speaking to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, Mahmoud Zahar says recognition of Israel would deprive future Palestinian generations of the possibility to 'liberate' their lands.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Hamas would be willing to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, a leader of the militant group, Mahmoud Zahar, told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Wednesday, adding, however, that Hamas would never recognize Israel since such a move would counter the group's aim to "liberate" all of Palestine.

Zahar's comments come amid Palestinian efforts to form a unity government that would include former rivals Fatah and Hamas, following a reconciliation agreement the two factions signed last week in Cairo.

Mahmoud A-ZaharCredit: AP

Speaking to Ma'an on Wednesday, Zahar, hinting at the possible political line of a future Palestinian unity cabinet, said that recognizing Israel would "preclude the right of the next generations to liberate the lands," wondering: "What will be the fate of the five million Palestinians in the diaspora?"

The Gaza strongman went on to tell Ma'an that Hamas would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state "on any part of Palestine," as opposed to the group's proclaimed aim to form a state "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."

Zahar also referred to the future of Hamas' military truce with Israel, confirming that the movement would continue to honor the cessation of fighting, following a joint decision made with its new Fatah partners. The Hamas leader, however, reiterated that the truce was "part of the resistance not its rejection," adding that a "truce is not peace."

A top Palestinian official said on Tuesday that a new unity government between recently reconciled Hamas and Fatah will be formed in 10 days.

In an interview with Ma'an news agency, Fatah leader Nabil Shaath said that although the prime minister of a future interim unity government has yet to be announced, current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is still in the running for the position.

Fayyad has taken unprecedented steps in recent months toward Palestinian statehood, recently presenting proposal in Brussels delineating a three-year aid plan that would allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future.

Palestinian leaders plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly in September to recognize a Palestinian state in all the lands Israel occupied in 1967.

Fayyad has made it clear that in the event that Israel and the Palestinians do not reach a negotiated settlement, a Palestinian state will be declared unilaterally.

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