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Yesterday, the imaginative people at Reuters news agency came up with the following sensation:

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday that Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel as a reality but formal recognition by the group will only be considered when a Palestinian state has been created.

Verily, a revolution in Middle Eastern affairs.

Avi Issacharoff of Haaretz hastened to write,

Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel is an established fact, the group's Damascus-based political chief Khaled Meshal told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Messiah had come at last, and the lion would lie down with the lamb. Unfortunately, there was no truth whatever in the statement. Meshal had been indeed interviewed by Reuters, and indeed he had been asked about recognition of Israel, and asked again and again. Each time he was asked, Meshal refused to say that Hamas would ever recognize Israel. He said, in effect, "We don't recognize Israel, we aren't talking about recognizing Israels, we never said we recognize Israel, and we always never said we recognize Israel." Any objective person reading the excerpts of the interview published by Reuters, and given below, would have to reach that conclusion. But Reuters and Issacharoff and Haaretz reached a different conclusion.

A short while later, as is its wont, Haaretz buried its canard with a half hearted retraction at the original site of the main story:

Hamas denied Wednesday that its amascus-based political leader Khaled Meshal told Reuters in an interview that his group would consider recognizing Israel once a Palestinian state is established.

One hour after the Reuters interview was published, the Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad told Haaretz that Meshal said, "Israel exists- and that's a fact."

However, Hamad maintained that Meshal did not say anything about recognizing Israel. "There was no change in our stance that Hamas does not recognize Israel," he said.

Salah Bardawil, head of Hamas's parliamentary faction, told Haaretz that after checking with Meshal, it seems to be that his words were twisted and distorted.

"He didn't speak about any recognition of Israel, only a cease-fire with Israel," Bardawil said.

Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel is an established fact, the group's Damascus-based political chief Khaled Meshal told Reuters on Wednesday..

Below is the excerpted interview published by Reuters. Though Ha'aretz claims it is the full interview, it apparently is not. Presumably though, Ha'aretz and Reuters are relying on what is in that text.

I ndeed, Meshal said "There will remain a state called Israel, this is an issue of fact but to put that in a headline carries quoting out of context to an absurd limit. It seems that what excited Mr. Issacharoff and Reuters were these words:

What didn't they understand about "the Palestinians should not be required to recognize Israel?" And Mr. Meshal also said, "There is a reality that Israel exists on Palestinian territory." He was clearly, reasserting the Hamas position that Palestine belongs to the Muslims, from the river to the sea. But Mr Issacharoff and Reuters saw only the first part of each sentence.

Ivan and Vlad were waiting forever at the end of a long line to get potatoes in the old days of the USSR. Ivan said, after a long wait, "I have an idea." He whispered to some people, "shsh - don't tell anyone - a fresh shipment of salami from Warsaw is being distributed on Krasnaya Oktyober street," The line emptied out on the false rumor.

A few minutes later, Ivan started leaving. "Where are you going," asked Vlad.

"Didn't you hear about the Polish Salami that is being distributed on Krasnaya Oktyober?"

Even after the Hamas denial, the Independent and other would-be news outlets continued to give credence to the story.

Haaretz too continued to believe its own fabricaition. Zvi Barel published an "Analysis": ANALYSIS / Meshal declaration basic shift in Hamas position according to which:

Khaled Meshal's declaration outlines a Hamas road map toward recognition of Israel. According to this outline, Meshal recognizes that the State of Israel is a "fact," but this "fact" still requires formal recognition. It is not clear what this entails.

Meshal never said a word about recognition, formal or otherwise. It is all an invention. Barel is analyzing the taste and texture of the nonexistent Polish salami.

Perhaps one day Hamas really will recognize Israel. Perhaps one day Santa will really come down the chimney and Ha'aretz and Reuters will announce it. Meanwhile, there is no Santa and no recognition, but those who want to believe can fill their hearts with joy reading Reuters and Ha'aretz.

Ami Isseroff

Q&A with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal
Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:26pm ET

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday that Hamas acknowledges the existence of Israel as a reality but formal recognition by the group will only be considered when a Palestinian state has been created.

Following are excerpts from Meshaal's interview with Reuters.

Q: What does Hamas want?

A: We in Hamas are with the general Palestinian and Arab position and we are with the consensus of the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state on the June 4 borders, including (East) Jerusalem, the right of return and the withdrawal of Israel to these borders.

Q: Does accepting the 1967 borders presuppose the existence of Israel?

A: The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel, The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent. There is a reality that Israel exists on Palestinian territory. The problem is that the Palestinian state does not exist. My concern as a Palestinian is to found this state. International relations are not based just on recognition.

Q: Does that mean you accept Israel exists?

A: We do not want to go into issues that complicate the struggle. We are offering a real chance that the Arabs and Palestinians believe in. There will remain a state called Israel, this is an issue of fact but the Palestinians should not be required to recognize Israel. Not all international relations are based on the basis of recognition. Who will be the one to grab this chance?

Q: Does that mean you can formally recognize Israel?

A: We as Hamas and as Palestinians do not talk about recognizing Israel or accepting it as a reality. As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or a state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land. This is reality but I don't deal with it from the point of view of recognizing or admitting it. It is a fact that was the result of historical factors.

Q. Could Hamas recognize Israel in the future and alter its charter which calls for Israel's destruction?

A: Why should we occupy ourselves with a distant future when we have urgent needs to achieve in the near future? The distant future will have its own circumstances and positions could be determined then.

Q. Are you saying you will drive a harder bargain than other negotiators in past?

A. The method used by Israel in its negotiations with the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and in its attempts to take free compromises in return for limited small offers will not work with the Hamas movement. Hamas today has the confidence of the people and won the ballot. Hamas cannot accept the logic of bargains with Israel. Israel has to respect Palestinian rights. We are demanding a Palestinian state on the 1967 border including Jerusalem and the right of return. Israel has to say yes I agree and withdraw. But for Israel to suck us into bargains in stages and in packages, this road constitutes an attempt to weaken the Palestinian position, to lure the Palestinians into lowering the ceiling of their demands and to use the time factor and pressure which will not work with us.

Q. Will there be a new Palestinian government?

A. We had a plan to go for a government of national unity that was not technocratic but with ministers who were experts and we were searching for a formula that would not bring symbols into the government. But this project failed.

Now we say 'we go to an unconditional dialogue. Each side present their vision.' And at this stage we are committed to the formation of a government of national unity headed by current Prime Minister Haniyeh and on the basis of the national accord document. Then we agree on the details regarding the formation of the government.

Original content is Copyright by the author 2007. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000328.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 2 Comments

Is it the majority of Israelis who need to come to its senses as much as it is the rest of the western world that still clings to the notion that any Palestinian political faction, accepts a two-state solution and the only assurance of a two-state solution is an Israel with defensible borders and military strength. Otherwise it will be a constant war of attrition including "harmless" Qassam rocket attacks, the abduction of Israeli soldiers and citizens on either side of the '67 border, etc.

Lynne T, Monday, January 15th

Is there anything to discuss here? Israel must be militarily strong, that goes without saying. Hamas has thrown down the gauntlet for a very long war of attrition. It must be made clear that Israel will wait for Hamas to come to its senses, for centuries if necessary.

Howard Wolf, Friday, January 12th

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