Hamas-led government severe pressure to change policy on Israel
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 4/12/2006
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Hamas-led government is willing to give Israel a de facto recognition in return for full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip and the creation of a viable and territorially-contiguous state within the 1967-borders, according to sources close to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniya, IRNA reported.
The sources, which asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, described "the change of policy" as "significant." "What it means is that the Palestinian government is willing to recognize Israel if Israel met certain conditions, including a complete withdrawal from the territories Israel occupied in 1967," one source told IRNA today.
The source added that he expected the "new posture" to be announced officially by Haniya in the coming few days.
The Hamas-led government is coming under intensive international pressure to recognize Israel, abandon armed resistance and accept outstanding agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
If true, the new development will constitute a significant departure from Hamas's erstwhile attitudes which negates Israel's right to exist.
Hamas officials and spokespersons in the West Bank have refused to comment on the movement's willingness to recognize Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state on 100 percent of the occupied territories.
Hamas has indicated that it would not make the same mistake previous Palestinians officials have made when they negotiated with Israel, where they always found themselves on a slipery slope of promises that never materialized to their satisfaction. Hamas's strength in great part stems from its moral argument, however, the financial pressure the Palestinian government is clearly under, with the Palestinians and Palestinian government, which employs a great many Palestinians, being extremely dependent on foreign aid. It is not clear what a Hamas implicit or explicit recognition of Israel would bring Hamas, other than very quickly, possibly, put it back in the same position of the previous Palestinian government in relation to Israel, a weak negotiating position, and possibly a severely weakened Hamas, without gain to peace.
A Haaretz report Monday spoke of Hamas being under great pressure, with financial aid cut off threats from the US and Europe and Arab states holding back funds, all to force Hamas to change its policy. The report quotes Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh saying "We inherited empty coffers." The report said "Haniyeh and his ministers do not have the time to launch their promised reforms; they are too busy putting out fires, arguing with Abbas over authority"
The Haaretz report spoke of "Powerful forces seek its (Hamas) demise - Arab leaders, including Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, European countries, the Unites States and Israel, of course."
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