Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh made another widely reported speech in Gaza today explaining in very precise terms what Hamas' position is on the PLO bid for statehood.
He said that Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state, under two conditions: Never recognize Israel and never concede a single inch of "Palestine."
Haniyeh also bristled at the suggestion that Hamas and the US had anything in common in opposing the PLO bid at the UN. He said American didn't want the PLO to go to the UN in order to extract more concessions, while Hamas was against it because it implied that they were giving too many concessions.
He stressed that Hamas wants "liberation first and then the state," saying that a state is not created by UN resolutions or compromises but by "steadfastness and resistance."
He added that he was always interested in unity with the PLO.
Less widely reported was that he made this speech in front of a group of Islamic scholars, stressing how important their role is in the future "Palestine" he envisions.
He also praised Nizar Rayan. Rayan was the spiritual authority of Hamas and liaison between its "political" and "military" wings who strongly supported suicide bombing and who was killed in the Gaza war when he refused to leave his home and save his wife and kids after Israel warned him they were going to bomb.
Despite the crystal clear message, you can bet that in the coming year some credulous Western reporter will say that Hamas is pragmatic and willing to accept Israel's existence, if only implicitly, because of some artfully ambiguous statements Hamas will make in English.
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