|Abbas denies Hamas must recognize Israel|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Tuesday, 10 October 2006 00:00|
A saint abroad and a devil at home, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Liberation Organization has denied Hamas must recognize Israel as part of any future peace deal. Abbas had claimed several times last month that Hamas would recognize Israel, during talks with the terrorist organization over the adoption of the National Reconciliation Document. Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh denied several times that Hamas was preparing to recognize Israel, and talks between the two groups have failed to reach agreement. Abbas assured US Foreign Secretary Condoleezza Rice, that he would demand Hamas recognize Israel. But speaking last week to an Arabic TV station, Abbas stated Hamas was not required to recognize Israel.
Quote: ""Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize Israel. ... It is not required of Hamas, nor of Fatah, nor of the Popular Front (for the Liberation of Palestine) to recognize Israel," Abbas told the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya satellite television network last week according to a translation by the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch monitor group.
Abbas has said Palestinian recognition of Israel will only go so far as political organizations with whom they have to do business with, but Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization will never recognize Israel's right to exist. The state of Qatar is attempting to mediate between Hamas and Fatah, in order to form a national unity government. Hamas has promised to look at the Qatari proposal, but so far no agreement has been reached.
Quote: "Under the plan, Hamas would agree to form a unity government that will accept �the international resolutions and agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization� - including those that recognize Israel, which Hamas has so far refused to do. The plan also calls for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the U.S.-backed Quartet peace plan, and an end to violence between the Palestinians and Israel. The Qataris also are suggesting the Palestinian factions should reactivate the PLO - dormant since the early 1990s - to carry out any peace negotiations with Israel, apparently as a way to allow Hamas to remain in the government while avoiding any direct dealing with Israel.