Hamas' political bureau chief Khaled Meshal on Wednesday declared that his movement would not bow to international pressure to recognize Israel to act to prevent attacks on the Jewish state. This stance came after a three-day visit by Hamas' leadership for talks with Egyptian officials, the AP reported. "Hamas does not recognize Israel and we won't accept anybody in the world forcing us into a corner," Meshal was quoted as saying.
In a BBC interview, Meshal said Hamas "could possibly give a long-term truce" but only if Israel withdrew from the occupied West Bank, recognized a right of return for Palestinian refugees and dismantled all settlements.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction announced on Wednesday that it would not join a Hamas-led government as it rejects the idea of any truce with neighboring Israel, since Israel may see this as a concession on their part.
According to Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Batch, the group "rejects the idea of a long-term truce, because the Israeli enemy will misunderstand this and will see it as a concession by the Palestinian resistance groups," said the AP.
Both Palestinian groups are fierce rivals, though they each call for the destruction of Israel. Islamic Jihad boycotted last month's Palestinian parliament election, which Hamas did not and won by a landfall.
Hamas has recently hinted that it may be interested in a long-term ceasefire with Israel.
Over the past year, Hamas has abided by an informal truce with Israel, which the Islamic Jihad rejected, carrying out six suicide bombings against Israelis.
Batch made the statement on Wednesday in Gaza City, adding that the Islamic Jihad "rejects participation in the (Palestinian) government and commits itself, before God and our people, to continue resistance as long as the occupation exists on our land."
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )