Interview with Palestinian Foreign Minister: "We Will Never Recognize Israel"
Mahmoud al-Zahar, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority's Hamas-led government, says a big majority of Hamas supports the struggle against Israel despite recent conciliatory comments from Hamas officials about a possible indirect recognition of Israel and an end to violence.
Mahmoud al-Zahar says a big majority of militant group Hamas backs continued resistance against Israel, which he likens to the Nazis occupying France in World War II.
SPIEGEL: But you reject a two state solution?
ZAHAR: We will never recognize Israel. The Zionists have occupied our land like the Nazis did with France during the Second World War. Israel is a foreign element in the Middle East. Why don’t the Jews establish their state in Europe?
SPIEGEL: Your Deputy Prime Minister, Nasser al-Shaer, views that differently. He thinks that an indirect recognition of Israel, as the Saudi-Arabian initiative of 2002 suggests, is possible.
ZAHAR: This is his personal opinion and not the position of the government.
SPIEGEL: Criticism even comes from the government spokesman. Ghazi Hamad questions the violent „resistance" against Israel.
An Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip
SPIEGEL: Is there an internal struggle within Hamas?
SPIEGEL: Western mediators say Israel would have been ready for an exchange deal. But Iran is said to have paid Hamas $50 million in order to torpedo the deal.
ZAHAR: This is Zionist propaganda. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is the one who is preventing a deal. I call on the family of the kidnapped soldier to pressure their government to do everything possible to release their son.
Interview conducted by Christoph Schult
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2006
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late