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Hamas must recognize Israel, top Egyptian official says
Published Thursday 08/05/2014 (updated) 10/05/2014 15:15
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(MaanImages/file)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- Hamas must recognize the existence of Israel if the Palestinians are to move forward with their hopes of establishing their own state, former Egyptian foreign minister Amr Mussa said Wednesday.

"It is normal for the Palestinians to reconcile," Mussa said of a recent unity deal struck between the Hamas militants who run the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

However, "I believe that Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the state of Israel together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal of the occupied territory," he insisted.

"If Hamas does do this, it would be a major step in the direction of formulating a favorable all-Palestinian policy towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

Hamas and the PLO, which is dominated by President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, signed a surprise reconciliation agreement on April 23 in a bid to end years of bitter and sometime bloody rivalry.

Under terms of the deal, the two sides would work together to form an "independent government" of technocrats, to be headed by Abbas, that would pave the way for long-delayed elections.

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was launched by Saudi Arabia and backed by the Arab League.

Under the plan, Arab states would forge full diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for a withdrawal from land it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War or mutually-agreed upon land swaps.

Mussa, who was Egypt's top diplomat from 1991 to 2001 before becoming secretary general of the Arab League until 2011, is close to former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who is tipped to win next month's elections in Egypt.

Egypt, which was once close to Hamas, has grown hostile to the movement after the Egyptian military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Last year, an Egyptian court banned Hamas and ordered the seizure of the groups assets.

Abbas held "positive" talks with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha Monday in the first meeting since their surprise unity deal last month, Palestinian officials said.

However, the deputy leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzouq, insisted earlier this week that despite the unity deal his group would never recognize Israel.

"We will not recognize the Zionist entity," he told a press conference in Gaza City.

Israel has never recognized the right of a Palestinian state to exist and many MKs in the current Israeli government openly oppose its creation.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
08/05/2014 12:48
The zionists want to realize greater "Israel", this includes Egypt. I wander... will the Egyptian top official recognize the existence to?

2 ) Bemused / New Zealand
08/05/2014 13:00
So here we have Egypt, who whinged and whined about Hamas purportedly interfering in internal Egyptain affairs, having the hypocritical gall to now start telling Palestinians what to do in their OWN country! Puhlease! Stay in your own backyard, Amr Mussa, and practice what you preach in your kangaroo courts.

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
08/05/2014 13:25
Recognize Israel for what. It really doesn't matter if the Palestinians recognize Israel or not. Israel will still wont give up any land or recognize the Palestinian to have their own state and regardless if all Palestinians raise the Israeli flag and dance in the streets. Its going to take a war with an Israeli loss to solve the problem, but if that happens Israel will blow up the whole region including themselves since they have nothing to gain.

4 ) Mel / USA
08/05/2014 15:08
Excuse me? Israel is the brutal OCCUPIER,war criminal! The racist expansionist!The bigot which spits in the face of pluralism,international laws,human rights &insults its very pluralistic Western patrons(incld.Jews&Christians)who keep the voracious ego-ethno-centric Zionist parasite alive.Ask Jewish people if they'd have respectfully"recognized"anti-Semitism,Nazism,fascism,perscution,for anything OTHER than what it was/is?
Israel's needs to EARN recognition by recognizing OTHERS respectfully!

5 ) ABE / USA
08/05/2014 18:41
Seems pretty easy!

6 ) Maureen / Australia
08/05/2014 19:05
"U.S. to ease Egypt military aid suspension" Aljazeera 23 April 2013 http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/23/egypt-military-helicopters.htm US aid $1.5billion annual grant to Egypt, mostly military aid, had been suspended following the Egyptian military take over of the democratically elected Mursi gov. and the mass death sentence of at least 680 Brotherhood members during a sham trial. Obviously the Egyptian military junta is bowing and scraping to its cash cow!

7 ) Maureen / Australia
08/05/2014 22:11
My correction. The article "US to ease Egypt military aid suspension" was Aljazeerza 23 April 2014.

8 ) Tactics are old / Usa
09/05/2014 18:08
Israel must recognize Palestine as an Islamic state first

9 ) Outlier / USA
09/05/2014 18:13
It should also end violent acts against Israel. Both would be smart moves, but Hamas is rarely smart.

10 ) Fadia / USA
10/05/2014 15:52
It scares me to think that Musa was head of Arab League.
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