Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal on Monday said Hamas would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip along Israel’s pre-1967 borders, and would grant Israel a 10-year hudna, or truce, as an implicit proof of recognition if Israel withdraws from those areas.
Meshal’s comments were one of the clearest outlines Hamas has given for what it would do if Israel withdrew from the territories it captured in the 1967 Six Day War. He suggested Hamas would accept Israel’s existence alongside a Palestinian state on the rest of the lands Israel has held since 1948.
However, Meshal told reporters in Damascus that Hamas would not formally recognize Israel.
“We agree to a [Palestinian] state on pre-67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital with genuine sovereignty without settlements but without recognizing Israel,” Meshaal said.
“We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition,” he said. He said he made the offer to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during talks Friday and Saturday in the Syrian capital. [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — It’s not going to happen, but just suppose Israel was to accept Hamas’s offer of a 10-year truce for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. Imagine that without the burden of an Israeli occupation or an economic siege that Palestinians could devote their attention to the construction of their own sovereign state. The responsibility of a Palestinian government would then fall squarely on its ability to adequately serve its own people – not its capacity to negotiate with or resist the Israelis. The challenge of that decade would clearly be to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians. The test of whatever political leadership held power would be its ability to deliver on its promises. To imagine that Hamas would use the peace in order to put together a longterm military plan to later challenge Israel seems fanciful. If they did so they would swiftly marginalize themselves out of existence.
So why should all of this be something we can only imagine? Because the real political challenge is not to persuade Hamas to accept a two-state solution, renounce violence or recognize Israel. The real challenge is for Israel to dismantle the settlements. It’s far easier to perpetually blame the Palestinians than to wrestle with an issue that has been relentlessly expanded towards a point where it could be regarded as irreversible.