Hamas Agrees to Recognize Israel Right to Exist

The Palestian Authority’s Hamas government has backed off its previous statements that it would never recognize Israel’s right to exist by saying that they might do it if Israeli agreed to retreat to its 1967 borders. The Jerusalem Post quotes Al-Jazeera:

According to a Thursday report on Al-Jazeera, the Hamas government will recognize Israel if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders. Hamas officials close to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh expect Haniyeh to announce the change in the organization’s platform in the next few days, Army Radio reported.

Ed Morrissey thinks this great progress:

This would appear to vindicate the hard line approach taken by the US and surprisingly echoed by the EU. Hamas had threatened to get its cash needs fulfilled by other countries in the region, especially Iran, after having the West wash its hands of the Palestinians when they elected Hamas into power. It now looks as though Hamas had its bluff called and perhaps once again proved the historical disregard that Arab nations have always had for the Palestinians.

Except that this essentially moves the “peace process” back to where it was fifteen years ago. Indeed, it is tantamount to saying, “We agree not to go to war with you if you just surrender.”

Jeff Goldstein gets it right:

It tells you something about an organization when it is big news that they’ve decided—provisionally—to acknowledge the right of another state “to exist.” And yet these people still find supporters—at least for their “political” platform—among many Americans and Europeans.

Surely, this is simply a non-starter as a negotiating ploy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Going from every Jew must die to you must move back to borders that would leave you vulnerable to attack is progress in negotiations. Getting to a point of a viable two state solution and how peace/security is going to be guaranteed is a long ways away.

  2. legion says:

    Yes, this is actually a very big step, Goldstein’s snark aside. Hamas might actually be maturing now that they’re expected to act like ‘grown-ups’ at the international table. The big question is – will they be able to maintain discipline amongst their own hard-liners who disagree with this?

  3. James Joyner says:

    John/Legion: Sure, this is better than we were two days ago. But not much. And it still is several steps back from where we were at Oslo. Negotiations can’t start from scratch every time a new party comes to power.

  4. James,

    I agree with what you would like to see (continuity of the peace process, lets not always start from square one). But the reality is that Hamas came in and didn’t even want to start from square one. Taking away their money until they get close to where we left off is the right approach. I certainly wouldn’t want to start the money taps again, but I would be willing to sit down at the table and talk.

  5. floyd says:

    yetanotherjohn; life experience should teach you that you can’t negotiate with a liar.