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What About Hamas? "No To Abbas."

After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared at the UN Thursday that the potential 'unity government' in the process of being formed would recognize both Israel as a state and existing PLO agreements with Israel, we asked "But What of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Mr. Abbas?" For it appeared that no affirming words had been spoken by Hamas on their own behalf suggesting any recognition of Israel. Abbas' statement unfortunately appeared more idealistic than realistic.

Well today Hamas has spoken. Clearly.

But Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, in a mosque sermon in Gaza City on Friday, said: "I personally will not head any government that recognises Israel."

Earlier, Ahmed Youssef, a senior adviser to Mr Haniya, said there would be no explicit recognition of Israel, but Hamas was prepared to agree to a 10-year truce with the Jewish state.

"The government and the Hamas movement will be against recognising Israel. Our position to solve the crisis is a 10-year truce which will be good for stability and prosperity," he said.

In short, we are back to the non-prospect of 'hudna,' just as it was proposed on the eve of Hamas' electoral victory. ThreatsWatch took a close look at Hamas' January 2006 offer of hudna in The Hamas Hudna Hoodwink.

Al-Zahar refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, claiming that Hamas would decide that issue once they met his demands as set forth. Those demands include “to release our detainees; to stop their aggression; to make geographic link between Gaza Strip and West Bank”.

The substance of the above demands aside, the true insight into the subject offered by Hamas came with the qualifier that followed the demands, as al-Zahar concluded, “at that time, with assurance from other sides, we are going to accept to establish our independent state at that time, and give us one or two, 10, 15 years time in order to see what is the real intention of Israel after that.”

In short, if Israel releases all of its prisoners (not happening, as many are held on direct charges of acts of terrorism), pulls out of the West Bank entirely (including all settlements), ceases all operations (presumably including future operations in reaction to attacks by any other Palestinian-based terror group not recognizing a Hamas hudna), and gives them an additional swath of land from Israel proper in the Negev Desert that links Gaza and the West Bank, then Hamas will think about reconsidering their recognition of Israel.

For those interested, Hamas' 10-year length is not an arbitrary (nor necessarily strategicaly planned) term. From Wikipedia's Hudna entry:

According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi'i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud" ('Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).