Haniyeh with some mullahs (photograph: Al Jazeera)
It's unlikely that the latest remarks by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh are going to change the minds of those in Europe and elsewhere who insist that Israel negotiate with Hamas. A favored argument among these people is that the Hamas government was democratically elected, and that Israel and the U.S. are therefore obliged to talk to it. Critics of Israel's current policies vis-à-vis the Hamas government also argue that Israel's demands that Haniyeh's government honor past agreements and recognize the state's existence are somehow unreasonable. It is one thing to argue for negotiations on the basis of realpolitik. But much of the criticism of Israel and the U.S. on this particular issue is actually advanced on normative grounds of one sort or another. I have a feeling that Western Europeans and their friends in the American academy will continue to express their exasperation about Israel's policy while downplaying statements such as these, made today in Iran by the Palestinian PM:
"We will not give up our Jihadist movement until the full liberation of Beit al-Muqqadas [Jerusalem] and Palestinian land."It is astounding that anyone would continue to insist that Israel has a duty to negotiate with the Hamas government.
"The Zionists ... want us to recognize the usurpation of our land ... but these things will never happen.
"We will never recognize the usurping Zionist regime." (Source: Al Jazeera).