Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh provided a direct answer Tuesday about the militant Islamist group's willingness to compromise its hard line position on its Jewish neighbor, the Ma'an News Agency reported.
"We will not recognize the Israeli state," said Haniyeh at a conference held in support of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He stood firm, if not defiant, that Palestinians will never compromise by allowing a Jewish state in Israel, or to waive their claim to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The Mosque lies at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the site is claimed by both sides.
Haniyeh's most recent pronouncement is unsurprising. Though Hamas has outwardly softened its rhetoric at various times—ostensibly due to political motivations—the group has long called for Israel's destruction, and has repeatedly returned to its rigid refusal to make meaningful concessions for the sake of peace.
Over the past few weeks, Hamas officials have said they would be open to a border deal based on the 1967 armistice line. The plan, though, would still exclude recognizing Israel's very existence.