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Hamas says recognition of Israel's right to exist not in cards+
[February 10, 2006]

Hamas says recognition of Israel's right to exist not in cards+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)JAKARTA, Feb. 10_(Kyodo) _ The Islamic militant group Hamas has no intention of recognizing Israel's right to exist and will not change its charter advocating destruction of the Jewish state until the Arab-Israeli conflict is completely settled, a leading Hamas official said in an interview published here Friday.

Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of Hamas' political bureau, made the statement Tuesday in an interview with Indonesia's Kompas daily in Cairo, held in the wake of radical Palestinian faction's stunning victory in last month's Palestinian Legislative Council elections in which it secured a parliamentary majority.

"The matter of recognizing Israel must be related to the recognition of the Palestinian people's rights," he was quoted as saying.

Pointing out that Israel controls most of historical Palestine and that many Palestinians are languishing in exile, Marzouk said, "If Hamas recognizes Israel's occupation (of Palestinian lands), then where is the map of the Palestinian territory?...How about the rights of the Palestinian refugees in exile?"

"Therefore, Hamas' recognition of Israel's occupation will not happen," he told the newspaper. "Instead, Israel should ask itself where its legitimization is before demanding Hamas to legitimize them."

In the interview, Marzouk also said the Hamas Covenant advocating Israel's destruction is "eternal" and "can't be changed before the Arab-Israeli conflict is completely settled."

But he said Hamas would be willing to consider a long-term cease-fire with Israel.

Hamas has carried out scores of suicide and other attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, and it is listed as a terrorist organization by many Western countries.

The United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations have warned that hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funding for Palestinians would be at risk if a Hamas-led Palestinian government continues to advocate violence and refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist.

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