New Zealand’s Clark hopes Hamas will recognise Israel

Prime Minister Helen Clark hopes Hamas will accept Israel's right to exist. Hamas, which has called for the destruction of Israel, won an overwhelming majority in the 132-seat legislature, taking 76 seats to the ruling party Fatah's 43. Helen Clark told Newstalk ZB today that the result was a surprise.

"Hamas is an Islamic militant movement, it's sent squads of suicide bombers in, killed many innocent people, on the other hand it's now entered the political process and, more than that, it's won a majority in the legislature in the Palestinian areas," she said.

"The question is, can Hamas now take the next step to being a force that operates within a structured environment and back away from the rhetoric about not recognising Israel's right to exist? That's very important that it does back away."

Helen Clark hoped influential countries in the Arab world such as Egypt would work to draw Hamas "into the broader political process".

She hoped that Hamas would change its earlier stance. "Why they should is because Palestinian people have had decades now of misery and insecurity and no peace. I would say their desire for peace and security is every bit as great as that of Israelis on the other side of the border."

On Friday Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the election had to be respected as it reflected the will of the Palestinian people and it was now a matter of waiting to see what sort of government Hamas formed and what position it took on issues.

"Hamas now has an historic opportunity and responsibility to change direction and embrace the peace process," Mr Peters said. US President George W Bush's has said that US aid should be cut to a Hamas-dominated Palestinian government unless Hamas abolished the militant arm of its party and stopped calling for the destruction of Israel. The US views Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Hamas' strong showing in last week's voting has been attributed in large part to dissatisfaction with the ruling Fatah party's ability to provide basic services as well as widespread corruption in its government, reports New Zealand Herald. I.L.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team