Hamas accepts '67 borders but won't recognize Israel
Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Az-Zahar
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
It seems a bit contradictory, accepting borders with a state you don’t recognize. But a Hamas representative has told the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, just that.
Ma’an reports that Hamas party leader Mahmoud Az-Zahar Wednesday told Ma’an radio that Hamas is ready to recognize a Palestinian state ”on any part of Palestine.” That’s seemingly a moderation of its demands for a state that encompasses Israel. But there’s a catch.
Az-Zahhar also rejected the formal recognition of Israel.
Hamas and Fatah have formed a coalition, and Israel is being asked to negotiate with this new, developing entity. Israel, backed by the United States, has said it will not negotiate with a government that includes Hamas because it is a terrorist organization.
There are those who are pushing for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. Some nations say they are prepared to recognize that new Palestine, perhaps as early as this September. But, how can one recognize an entity that doesn’t recognize Israel?
Az-Zahar says that if Hamas recognizes Israel, that would preclude it from resettling Palestinian refugees on what is Israeli land. So, he told Ma’an Radio, he rejects the idea of a Palestinian state that is only inclusive of the West Bank and Gaza. Which of course, contradicts his supposedly moderate position that Hamas would accept the ’67 borders.
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see what would happen if a Palestinian state is unilaterally declared. Hamas would “accept” the ’67 borders. But then, would not adhere to them. Because it believes that the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinian diaspora.
If the world has any doubt about this, just listen to what Az-Zahar has to say about peace between a new Palestine and Israel. According to Ma’an, the Hamas leader says, yes, Fatah, which would presumably be part of the new government, says it will maintain its truce with Israel. But added in the radio interview that “truce is not peace.”
All this comes against the backdrop of the daily shelling of Israel from the Gaza.
Of course, there are those in the media and pundits who will only grasp the headline, that Hamas now says it “accepts” the ’67 boundaries. They won’t peel back the skin to look at the rest of what Az-Zahar said. And they’ll accuse Israel of failing to be reasonable because it refuses to negotiate with Hamas.