Palestinian Prime Minister insists Hamas won't recognize Israel
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday that his Hamas-led cabinet will not recognize Israel and said the Arab peace plan is problematic because it does.
Addressing an "Iftar" feast at the end of a day of Ramadan fasting, Haniyeh said Hamas and the government are "indistinguishable," and "we will not recognize or normalize" relations with Israel. According to the AP, he said the main problem with the Arab peace plan, presented in 2002 by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by an Arab summit, is that it recognizes Israel in exchange for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and Golan Heights.
Haniyeh hinted that peacemaking with Israel could be left up to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Haniyeh said the Arab plan "leaves a lot of room for political maneuvering" for Abbas.
Haniyeh said he still hopes for a unity government with Fatah, but Abbas said last week that negotiations have broken down.
Addressing 300 religious and political leaders in Gaza at a "unity and reconciliation" feast on Sunday, Haniyeh appealed for calm.
"We may criticize each other, raise our voices," he said. "However, it is certainly our concern and religious and moral commitment that matters don't come down to conflict, infighting and civil war."
In violence Sunday, two Palestinians died in the West Bank.
In the afternoon, a Palestinian man was shot and killed on his way to break the Ramadan fast with family, relatives said.