Tehran: Hamas "will never recognise Israel,"
its Gaza prime minister said on Saturday in a speech in Iran that is
likely to complicate Palestinian efforts to form a unity
government in the teeth of opposition from the Jewish state.
"They want us to recognise the Israeli occupation and
cease resistance but, as the representative of the Palestinan
people and in the name of the entire world`s freedom seekers, I
am announcing from Azadi Square in Tehran that we will never
recognise Israel," Ismail Haniya said.
"The resistance will continue until all Palestinian land,
including al-Quds (Jerusalem), has been liberated and all the
refugees have returned," he said.
Haniya`s reiteration of Hamas`s long-held stance was made
on the occasion of Iran`s commemoration of its 1979 Islamic
The Gaza leader spoke to an estimated crowd of 30,000
from a stage alongside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"The Iranian people are a partner in this victory,"
Haniya said. "God willing, we will met you along with other
Palestinians in a free Palestine, in its capital Al-Quds," he
Israel rejects efforts by Hamas to link up with Fatah,
the secular faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas that
runs the West Bank, to form a unity government. It views Hamas
as a terrorist organisation and Iran as its sponsor and weapon
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told UN envoys
on Thursday that a Hamas-Fatah accord signed this week to
partner in the new government "does not contribute to the
advancement of peace negotiations or the well-being of the
The so-called Quartet of diplomatic players in the Middle
East peace process -- the European Union, Russia, the United
Nations and the United States -- has long demanded that any
Palestinian government including Hamas must meet certain
conditions to join negotiations.
Those are the renunciation of violence and the
recognition of Israel and of past agreements with the Jewish
Direct peace negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians have been frozen since September 2010. The
Palestinians have demanded that Israel halt settlement
construction in the occupied West Bank. Israel rejects any
conditions for talks to settle the Middle East conflict.