Hamas re-emphasizes that it "cannot" ever recognize Israel following Abbas' commentary
Hamas supporters rally in Jerusalem earlier this year (File Archive/AFP)
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A media adviser to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday denied reports that Hamas was considering recognizing Israel, pointing out that the movement "cannot" recognize Israel.
On Saturday the Washington Post quoted Tahir Al Nunu as saying that Hamas "did not rule out the possibility of recognizing Israel," but today the official said that he had been misquoted and that the party "could not" individually recognize the country.
Al Nunu stressed that "it is the interim leadership of the PLO who will determine political stances in the coming stage," and that the unity government would not be playing a foreign policy role.
President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that any unity government would abide by preexisting PLO principles, including a commitment to nonviolence and recognizing Israel.
"The upcoming government will obey my policy," Abbas said in a speech to the PLO Central Council. "I recognize Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognize international commitments."
A Gaza official told AFP in response at that time that Abbas' speech was "mostly positive."
"It is not the (unity) government's mission to take care of political issues," Bassem Naim, an adviser to Hamas' Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh, said.
"It has only three main missions: unifying the Palestinian organizations, preparing for elections, and reconstructing Gaza."
Wednesday's PLO-Hamas reconciliation deal infuriated Israel, which pulled out of the US-backed peace talks saying it would "not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel," and vowed unspecified "measures" in response.
The PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988. Israel, however, has never recognized the right of a Palestinian state to exist.