Hamas rejects talk of recognizing Israel

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh ruled out any talk of the Hamas-led government he heads recognizing Israel or ending the fight against the Jewish state until Israel commits to withdrawing from Palestinian land.

In a column that appeared in London's Guardian newspaper on Friday, Haniyeh said "we have every right to respond with all available means" if Israel continues to launch attacks and to impose "sanctions" on Palestinians.

Haniyeh's column, which lists his email address as [email protected], was published one day after four Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing by the Palestinian militant group al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Hamas called the attack a "natural response to Israeli crimes."

Sworn in on Wednesday, Haniyeh's new government has been under pressure from the "Quartet" of Middle East mediators to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and abide by interim peace deals.

In a statement on Thursday, Quartet partners the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations warned Hamas that direct foreign assistance to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority would inevitably be affected by its refusal to meet their demands.

"The message from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to world powers is this: talk to us no more about recognizing Israel's 'right to exist' or ending resistance until you obtain a commitment from the Israelis to withdraw from our land and recognize our rights," Haniyeh wrote.

He rebuffed threats by Western powers to cut off direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority. "We will persist, and our friends have pledged to fill the gap," Haniyeh said, in an apparent reference to Iran and other Muslim states, reports Reuters.


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