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Hamas leader says Israel’s existence is a reality

A stated recognition by Hamas’s Meshaal of Israel show up the warmongers in the Likud Party and pro-Likudniks in the US. Richard Silverstein also covers this little noted story — if you have a blog in the US please consider using or linking to the Reuters article appended below. See also Richard’s interesting post on Wesley Clark’s recent comments that earned the ire of the Israel Lobby in the US.

Elsewhere, Jeffrey Blankfort has noted that it was reportedly Henry Kissinger who came up with the idea that the Palestinians, in that case, the PLO, must recognize Israel’s “right to exist,” which was not demanded of either Egypt or Jordan before Israel signed treaties with those countries.

Blankfort writes: “No other country has ever made such a demand which is qualitatively different than simply recognizing the fact that a particular state exists at a given moment. Accepting such a demand, of course, means recognizing the legitimacy of their victimization by the Israelis which is equivalent to asking a rape victim to accept the right of the rapist to commit his vile act in order to get him to stop it.”

Whatever the efficacy of the analogy drawn above by Blankfort, this development deserves to be noted and publicized as much as possible to give the warmongers less squeeze room, as well as commended.


Hamas leader says Israel’s existence is a reality
By Sean Maguire and Khaled Oweis Wed Jan 10, 1:08 PM ET

[NB. This link has now lapsed as yahoo news is impermanent in its article postings. As the caption below indicates, a photograph also accompanied this article.]Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during an interview with Reuters in Damascus January 10, 2007. (Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel as a reality but formal recognition will only be considered when a Palestinian state has been created, the movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday.

Softening a previous refusal to accept the Jewish state’s existence, Meshaal said Israel was a “matter of fact” and a reality that will persist.

“There will remain a state called Israel,” Meshaal said in an interview in the Syrian capital, in what appeared to be clearest statement yet by the Islamist group on its attitude toward the state it previously said had no right to exist.

“The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel,” said Meshaal, who survived an Israeli assassination attempt in 1997. “The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent.”

Israel and Western governments have put financial sanctions on the Hamas-led Palestinian government for refusing to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace accords. The embargo has hit the Palestinian economy hard.

Meshaal said Hamas would defy the Western conditions, which he described as blackmail, and would refuse to consider formal recognition of Israel until a viable Palestinian state was established.

Changing the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, was also a matter for the future, he said.

“The distant future will have its own circumstances and positions could be determined then,” he said in a wide-ranging interview.

Past concessions to Israel by Palestinian negotiators went unrewarded, he argued, and his Islamist group would drive hard bargains over key issues such as recognition.

“For Israel to suck us into bargains in stages and in packages – this road constitutes an attempt to weaken the Palestinian position.”


Asked about Meshaal’s comments Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev responded that Hamas had said in the past it wanted to wipe Israel from the map and there was no indication it had changed its position.

Meshaal said Hamas backed Arab demands that a Palestinian state should include Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem and that Israel should accept the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes lost in a 1967 war and before.

“As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land,” said Meshaal.

“This is a reality but I won’t deal with it in terms of recognizing or admitting it,” he added.

A vast gulf exists between the Hamas goals for a state and Israel’s insistence that it will never give up Arab east Jerusalem or allow Palestinian refugees to return from abroad.

Meshaal called for international pressure on Israel to accept Palestinian demands in the interest of regional peace and security. He criticised U.S. financial and political backing for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as interference.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah are locked in a power struggle that has sparked deadly armed clashes that some fear will lead to a Palestinian civil war. Meshaal called for renewed dialogue between the groups to try to form a national unity government.

In his interview Meshaal did not threaten armed action by his Islamist group against Israel but warned that Palestinian frustration over a stalled peace process could lead to attacks.

Hamas has largely abided by a November 26 truce which has calmed Israeli-Palestinian violence in Gaza. It launched dozens of suicide bombings against Israel during a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000 but halted them in early 2005.

(Additional reporting by Nadim Ladki and Allyn Fisher-Ilan)

12 comments on “Hamas leader says Israel’s existence is a reality

  1. JollyRoger
    22 January, 2007

    Obviously, this development will not be welcomed wholeheartedly at the White House, where the cabal in residence desperately needs as many bogeymen as it can muster to justify its own existence…

  2. peoplesgeography
    22 January, 2007

    Indeed, Jolly Roger. Terror-terror-terror! My friend Servant at Ressentiment wrote an spot on piece a few months back that I reproduced here and would like to share with you— it really tickled my funny bone and resonated with me:

    There’s a looming shortage of anti-Semites. Soon there won’t be enough new anti-Semites to keep Israel supplied with justifications for kicking Palestine’s ass every day.

    Experts estimate that Israel will reach Peak anti-Semite in 2007. After that the price of anti-Semites will sky rocket as increasing demand searches for fewer and fewer anti-Semites.

    If Israel cannot find enough anti-Semites, it will have to find a way to synthesize them since Israel cannot justify its existence without a constant supply of new anti-Semites.

    Scientists continue to search for a method of making anti-Semites out of ordinary citizens, but so far they just turn into mush under the hot lights in the television studio where Israel needs to put them on display. When asked the difference between Israel and Jews, most ordinary citizens remain unsuitable for synthetic processes because they the know the difference.

    Without a constant supply of anti-Semites to feed the Hasbara PR machine, Israel will be forced to discuss the Palestinian issue – and admit it just wants Palestinian land.

  3. Pingback: Palestine’s Right to Exist « THE 3 AXIS OF TRUE EVIL!!!

  4. shamimeadine
    5 January, 2009


  5. Emmanuel
    6 January, 2009


    I find it quite saddening that your latest post proudly presents a child aiming a weapon with hatred in his eyes. He is probably being told that his life goal should be to die killing Israelis.

    Needless to say Mickey Mouse is a much more positive childhood hero than Farfur.

  6. peoplesgeography
    6 January, 2009

    I don’t read hatred. I read despair. While you speculate with hearsay about what this poor child may be being told should he ever live to see justice, children in the IOF aren’t just being told to kill Palestinians, they ARE doing so, daily and in record numbers.

    Murdering scores of Palestinian children is apparently not as bad to you as having a picture of a Palestinian child bearing arms.

    Kudos to the schministim and to those of conscience like Nurit Peled-Elhanan (For the children: Education or mind infection?). The Israeli education system does far more damage than the overblown brouhaha over a dress-up mouse ever did.

  7. Emmanuel
    6 January, 2009

    “While you speculate with hearsay about what this poor child may be being told should he ever live to see justice, children in the IOF aren’t just being told to kill Palestinians, they ARE doing so, daily and in record numbers.”

    First of all, IDF soldiers are not children. Second of all, that’s what armies do – they defend their country, many times by killing enemy combatants. In fact, soldiers are taught to be as careful as possible not to kill civilians.

    “Murdering scores of Palestinian children is apparently not as bad to you as having a picture of a Palestinian child bearing arms.

    It is tragic when children die, but they are not the targets. Adult terrorists are. The IDF has to be extremely careful about hurting civilians, especially kids.

    “Kudos to the schministim and to those of conscience like Nurit Peled-Elhanan”

    If all of Israel’s young people were like the shministim Israel would have been destroyed long ago. I doubt you’d mind, but I would.

    “The Israeli education system does far more damage than the overblown brouhaha over a dress-up mouse ever did.”

    The Israeli education system teaches children that Israel needs to defend itself. It doesn’t teach them to hate Arabs. It used to, but not anymore. Children are taught that life is most important. Martyrdom is not promoted in Israel.

    A dress-up mouse that tells little children that “We are going to defend al-Aqsa with our souls and blood, or are we not?” (even according to the link you provided) doesn’t trouble you?

    I expect critical thinking from an academic. Criticism only towards one side isn’t critical thinking. Is it alright to promote hatred and martyrdom on children’s shows?

  8. peoplesgeography
    6 January, 2009

    Oh, but many are. Compulsory drafting at 18, yes? These are youngsters still in their teens.

    No, it is not merely tragic when children die, especially when war could most definitely have been avoided. Sorry, critically thinking people aren’t buying the claims that the IOF don’t target civilians. The record doesn’t support it.

    Yes, Israelis are socialised that life is more important: Israeli life.

    The IDF has just wiped out three entire Gazan families or 19 souls in separate attacks. Israel is intent upon sowing destruction and hatred: these do not exist divorced of Israeli causality as if Palestinians were somehow genetically programmed to hate Israelis. They do so because of Israel’s unconscionable actions.

    How is saying that statement any different from Israel’s vaunted “self-defence” claims? Are Israelis not also taught to defend their homeland with their souls and blood, as reflected in national compulsory military service?

    It is that the corporate media and Israel-aligned blogosphere are one-sided, which we challenge. There’s no obligation to criticise both sides simply for its own sake. One is not neutral in times of great moral conflict, to use another’s words.

    And lest we forget where the Israeli title for this horrendous operation, Operation Cast Lead, comes from: a children’s Hannukah song. Further inured to Palestinian death and suffering, the only cast lead dreidels are the ones Israeli military aircraft are playing with, by dropping on the inhabitants of Gaza high-tech 250-pound bombs … much of it funded by the $3 billion “aid” courtesy of the US taxpayer.

  9. Emmanuel
    6 January, 2009

    There’s no obligation to criticise both sides simply for its own sake. One is not neutral in times of great moral conflict

    Who said anything about neutrality? I don’t expect you to bring up Palestinian wrongdoing on your own. However, I do not understand why you justify anything Palestinians do when I bring it up just for the sake of countering my argument. How can we have a serious discussion if you absolutely lack any self-criticism of “your side”? When Israel does something I disagree with, I say so.

    You disappoint me.

  10. peoplesgeography
    6 January, 2009

    Do get a grip, Emmanuel. I don’t see where Palestinian “wrongdoing” is justified here. Based on the statement you cited, I said it was no different than the value of national self-defence: “we are going to defend Al-Quds with our souls and blood”.

    If I wasn’t mistaken, I’d be inclined to think you just like prolonging a talk shop in this thread. I’m afraid your disappointment and regard (for me) are not of paramount importance; we are here talking about people being massacred and I care not for minutiae. You’ll find ample self-criticism of “my side” elsewhere on this blog, including of Hezbollah, whom I largely support.

  11. John Humphreys
    6 January, 2009

    The right of return is not a reasonable request.

    If two guys are fighting, and one says “I will stop fighting if you will have sex with a donkey”, then that is not a serious bid for peace. Likewise, if Hamas says “We will continue trying to kill civilians if you won’t accept this unacceptable proposal” then it indicates that they actually WANT the war.

    Hamas could very easily have avoided this war, and they could very easily stop it at any time. If you are upset about the deaths (as I am), then you must be VERY upset with Hamas for both starting and continuing this war (as I am).

  12. peoplesgeography
    7 January, 2009

    Thanks for coming over, John. I’m happy to talk about the RoR. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with your opinion. I think peace terms should include some allowance for a limited number of refugees should they wish to return. Not all will. But its not simply a normative preference, it is enshrined in international law.

    As it happens, Emmanuel (in this thread, who happens to be an Israeli) and I had an extensive exchange debating the RoR which you are invited to read here.

    Interesting choice of words for an analogy, John …. but it is inapplicable and reflects your opinion and normative judgment that the RoR is unacceptable. You may find it unacceptable but Palestinians do not, and it is their moral human right to assert, supported and enshrined in international law. It is Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing that is not supported by international law or any reasonable civilised morals. In fact many Gazans are from Askalaan (renamed Ashkelon) and the surrounding area, now forced to live in a concentration camp Israel has created of Gaza, from a people who should know better.

    Your last statement is entirely and demonstrably false. Hamas have had every overture (including this latest one) it has extended rejected by Israel.

    I am deeply affected by Israel’s ongoing carnage and loss of life on both sides of the border and I am glad you have expressed the same about the civilian casualties. I am upset that ISRAEL started the war and violated the ceasefire as I’ve argued in your post on the topic entitled “in support of Israel”, supported with evidence.

    I must say I don’t know what you are basing your unsupported assertions on, because I think you are being badly served by any information services.

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This entry was posted on 12 January, 2007 by in Diplomacy, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Palestine, Palestine Peace, USA.

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