News :: Civil and Human Rights

Hamas Officials Talk to Israeli Media

JERUSALEM - Taking their message to a state they don't recognize, the Hamas prime minister gave an interview to an Israeli newspaper and his top aide spoke in Hebrew on the radio Tuesday.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Cabinet Secretary Ghazi Hamad said Hamas would consider a truce with
Israel([search]), though both fell far short of recognizing the Jewish state, accepting previous peace accords and renouncing violence.

Danny Rubinstein of the newspaper Haaretz said Haniyeh received him without an appointment, a rare gesture. Rubinstein told Israel Radio that he believes Hamas is reaching out to Israelis.

"If they are willing to deal with us on the practical, daily level, then this will bring them, actually, to come to terms (with Israel)," Rubinstein said. "It may be shocking, but my impression was that the enemy (Haniyeh) was pleasant-mannered and smiled a lot."

Hamad was interviewed on Israel Radio, speaking in fluent Hebrew he learned in Israeli prisons. He made clear that recognizing Israel is not on the Hamas agenda, but that a long-term truce is possible if Israel withdraws from the
West Bank, Gaza([search]) and east Jerusalem, the territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast War.

"Until now we haven't talked about recognizing Israel but if Israel will agree (to withdraw) then perhaps," Hamad said. "Israel is looking for security and Palestinians are looking for peace, for their rights. If there is security, I think it's good for you (the Israelis)," he said in the radio interview.

Israel has withdrawn from Gaza. Although Israel is willing to give the Palestinians control of most of the West Bank. it wants to hold onto large settlement blocs, and insists it will not withdraw to the 1967 frontier.

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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