Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel as a reality but formal recognition will only be considered when a Palestinian state has been established, the movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday.
Meshaal said Israel was a “matter of fact” and a reality. “There will remain a state called Israel,” Meshaal said in an interview with Reuters. “The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel,” said Meshaal. “The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent.”
Meshaal said Hamas would refuse to consider formal recognition of Israel until a viable Palestinian state was created. Changing the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, was also a matter for the future, he said. “The distant future will have its own circumstances and positions could be determined then,” he said.
Meshaal said Hamas backed Arab demands that a Palestinian state should include Gaza Strip, the West Bank and east Jerusalem and that Israel should accept the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes lost in a 1967 war and before. “As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land,” said Meshaal.
“This is a reality but I won’t deal with it in terms of recognizing or admitting it,” he added.