Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has refused to rule out a role for the terrorist organization Hamas in peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA). But Hamas continues to take radical positions that demonstrate it has nothing to contribute to peace or compromise with Israel.
Despite signing a reconciliation agreement with its archrival Fatah, which has recognized Israel, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said Wednesday that his group would never recognize Israel because such a move would run counter to its effort to "liberate" all of Palestine. Recognizing Israel would "preclude the right of the next generations to liberate the lands," he said, wondering: "What will be the fate of the five million Palestinians in the diaspora?"
Hamas would continue to honor the recent cessation of fighting with Israel, Zahar said, but he emphasized that the truce "is not peace" with Israel. Outgoing Israeli Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin agrees, saying Wednesday that "at most, Hamas may agree to a ceasefire which it will use to build up its power."
Although Fatah, which rules West Bank Palestinians, has permitted Hamas to return to that territory for the first time since the 2007 Palestinian civil war, Hamas is in no hurry to allow Fatah leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbas to come to Gaza.
Zahar said Wednesday that the security situation in Gaza is too fragile to permit Abbas to visit, expressing concern that Israeli agents in Gaza would shoot at Abbas in an attempt to sabotage Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Levy writes that the Hamas/Fatah agreement is "a catastrophe" for Abbas and a triumph for dark forces like the Muslim Brotherhood. It signals a "prehistoric regression" that is an "insult" to Libyans fighting to overthrow the Qaddafi dictatorship in Libya and "amounts to spitting in the faces of the hundreds of Syrians who, since March, have been massacred by the best friend of Hamas" (Syrian President Bashar Assad), Levy adds.