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 dont 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
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