Friday, January 29, 2010

Q&A: ''Hamas Accepts Existence of Israel Within 1967 Borders''

Mel Frykberg interviews MAHMOUDI RAMAHI, secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council

"RAMALLAH, Jan 29, 2010 (IPS) - Palestinian politics are at an impasse. The four-year term of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) ended on Jan. 25 with no new elections planned. Presidential elections, meant to be held last year, were also postponed indefinitely.

IPS spoke with Dr. Mahmoud Ramahi, a neurosurgeon and secretary-general of the PLC, on the political deadlock.....

Q: Why should the U.S. negotiate with Hamas if they have reason to believe that even though your organisation won free elections once in power you would enforce an Islamic theocracy?

A: We are a moderate Islamic movement and we were never given even a month's period after the elections to prove our credentials. If we had been given a chance and proven ourselves to be undemocratic then it would be logical to boycott us but not before. I explained this to ex-U.S. president Jimmy Carter after the 2006 elections which he helped to monitor and may I point out that the PA is far from democratic.

The influence of Islam in the region is increasing whether the West likes it or not. The choice is to deal with moderate Islamic groups like ourselves or continue boycotting us and fuel real Islamic extremism in the form of al-Qaeda and then try negotiating with them.

Q: The Americans also say your refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist is problematic.

A: We have already stated repeatedly that we accept the existence of Israel within the 1967 borders as a political reality even if we do not approve its moral legitimacy.

Israel on the other hand has never recognised the right of a Palestinian state to exist even under the PA, despite the PA recognising Israel's right to exist. All Israel has recognised is the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole representative of the Palestinian people."

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