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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hamas close to recognizing Israel? Um, no.

This week's breathless news of new Hamas flexibility came from The Economist:
“HAMAS is very close on recognition of Israel,” says Ahmed Yousef, the Islamist movement’s deputy foreign minister, speaking from the top floor of a high-rise building in Gaza City. “We show all sorts of ideological flexibility on this.”
And for the umpteenth time, Hamas immediately denies ever saying any such thing, in much more blunt language:
Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef said on Sunday that the Islamic movement will never recognize Israel, backtracking on remarks printed by the British magazine The Economist.

Yousef said that the magazine misunderstood him when it quoted him saying that Hamas is close to recognizing Israel. He characterized the report as “totally untrue.”

In a statement to Ma’an, Yousef, who is the deputy foreign minister in the de facto government of Gaza, said that “no law” can force Palestinians to recognize Israel. “We can’t admit the existence of the state and the nation that is occupying us. They are the ones that should recognize Palestinian rights,” he said.
Hamas continues to play the Western wishful thinkers like a violin, saying purposefully ambiguous comments that they know will be interpreted as relatively moderate and then insisting that they are just as radical as ever, explicitly, in Arabic.

A page from the Fatah playbook.