Hamas: We May Back Palestinian State That Does Not Recognize Israel's Existence

Gaza strongman Ismail Haniyeh reiterates criticism of Abbas-led statehood bid at UN, saying no Palestinian leader has the mandate to forfeit 'one inch' of historic Palestine.

Hamas supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel's existence and which does not concede "one inch" of historical Palestine, Hamas' Gaza leader said on Sunday.

Last week, Hamas voiced its objection to an upcoming Palestinian bid to gain recognition at the United Nations, saying that such an effort infringes on the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Ismail Haniyeh - AP - Sept. 28, 2010

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.

Speaking to the Palestinian legislative council in Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was quoted by the French news agency AFP as reiterating his movement's opposition to the Palestinian Authority move at the UN, adding however that Hamas would support an independent Palestine on only part of what it considered to be "historic Palestine" if that state would adhere to core Hamas principles.

"We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine,” Haniyeh was quoted by AFP as saying.

Elaborating on the main objection to the PA-led bid at the UN, Haniyeh reiterated the Hamas position that there could be "no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return."

“Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid,” he added, saying, however, that Hamas would “not place obstacles in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.”

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.