December 10, 2010:
Hamas contradicts itself on peace referendum
enemy with forked tongue
Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh was quoted last week as saying he will accept a peace deal subject to a referendum of the Palestinian people. However Hamas’ subsequent statements reject this position.
In a WikiLeaks cable detailing a meeting between Senator John Kerry and the Amir of Qatar in February 2010, the Amir is revealed as stating that ‘Hamas will accept the 1967 border with Israel.’ This is in line with a statement by Ismail Haniyeh on 1 December, in which according to Reuters, he said:
‘Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles… We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees’.However, according the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, this statement has since been substantially qualified. The organisation reports that a mere three days later on 4 December:
‘… Salah Bardawil, head of Hamas’ “information” department, clarified Ismail Haniya’s remarks, claiming that Hamas would not recognize Israel “under any circumstances’.Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar is also reported as qualifying the position further on 6 December, stating that Hamas members ‘would not recognize Israel or cede any part of Palestine.’ The report outlined his position further, saying:
‘he would not accept a referendum about fundamental principles. He said that a referendum could be held regarding “modus operandi” but not about “the holy places, faith, money, land or personal worth.” He hinted that should a future agreement which ran counter Hamas’ position be accepted, the movement would renounce it as it had renounced the Oslo Accords’.This follows a statement issued by Hamas on the 29th November in which they state that ‘the land of Palestine is one unified entity from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and the private property of the Palestinian people.’