Hamas Opposes ‘Tactical’ Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN

Senior leader of the Islamist movement says his group rejects Abbas' UN bid since it would create a state only in West Bank and Gaza and not in all of historic Palestine.

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The Islamist Hamas movement said Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas' plan to approach the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood was a "tactical" move, part of a negotiations process, and therefore could not be backed.

The move was not based on principles and "Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it," Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on March 18, 2007. Credit: AP

Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, opposes the general line adopted by Abbas, and in particular peace negotiations with Israel.

The movement is under a Western diplomatic boycott for refusing demands to renounce violence, honor past Israeli-Palestinian agreements and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Al-Bardaweel told the workshop that the consequence of getting the UN to recognize a Palestinian state would also be recognition of Israel's boundaries.

"Going to the UN draws the borders of Israel, which was established on stolen lands and still has no borders," he said.

Abbas' UN bid, he explained, would mean that the Palestinian state would exist only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war, and not in all of historic Palestine, as Hamas wants.

Moreover, he said, once a Palestinian state is ratified, "the Palestinian resistance won't be allowed to fire one single gunshot at the Israeli occupation."

Abbas said last week that he intends to submit the Palestinian's UN bid once he arrives in New York on September 19 for the General Assembly session.

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