Stop demanding Hamas recognize Israel, Palestinian official says
Hamas should not be asked to recognize Israel, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday, ahead of a reconciliation ceremony between the Islamist group and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' mainstream Fatah organization, DPA reported.
Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told Israel Radio that Russia and many other countries agreed that the demands on Hamas, imposed by the so-called Quartet of Middle East peacemakers were not logical and unworkable.
"They have no place in the current formula anymore," he said.
Russia is a member of the Quartet, along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
The Quartet imposed a diplomatic boycott on Hamas after it won the 2006 Palestinian elections, because of its refusal to renounce violence, honour past Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.
In the radio interview, Shaath asked whether Israel would ever recognize Hamas.
Shaath spoke a few hours before Hamas and Fatah were due to sign a reconciliation agreement in Cairo.
The deal ends a bitter and at times violent feud between the two largest Palestinian parties.
It is intended to bring about the formation of an interim unity government, which will do away with the current situation whereby Hamas administers the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority the West Bank.
Israel rejected the deal with it was announced last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials said there can be no talks with a government which includes Hamas, unless the Islamist group accepts Israel's right to exist.