Hamas rejects any peace treaty with Israel, but supports the possibility of establishing a lasting ceasefire such as the one between Israel and Lebanon or Israel and Syria, a top Hamas official said in a rare interview with an American-Jewish newspaper published on Friday.
Speaking with The Jewish Daily Forward, Hamas's Mousa Abu Marzouk expressed views ranging from Hamas' willingness for a "Hudna," or truce,
with Israel, to a possible willingness to change Hamas' charter
regarding Jews, to a refusal to recognize any future peace treaty signed
by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The interview of Hamas'
second-highest-ranking official with an American Jewish newspaper was
unusual and appeared to be Marzouk's attempt to express a new readiness
for reducing conflict in practice, even if Hamas still stridently
opposes the Quartet's demands that Hamas forfeit its "resistance"
tactics in principle if it wishes to participate in peace negotiations.
The Quartet includes the US, Russia, the EU and the UN.
not the first time that a Hamas representative articulated the paradigm
of an indefinitely extendable truce as opposed to a formal peace
agreement; other Hamas representatives, including Marzouk himself ,have
been proposing the idea since at least 1994.
However, this was
the first time that a Hamas representative described the nature of the
truce. Marzouk said, “We will not recognize Israel as a state. It will
be like the relationship between Lebanon and Israel or Syria and
Israel,” according to the Forward
Regarding Hamas' charter's anti-Semitic and violent references to Jews, Marzouk said that the charter does not govern his organization and that, "there are many Hamas people talking about changing the charter" because there are many current Hamas policies "against what’s written in the charter.”
The Hamas deputy political director made headlines in recent years mostly as Hamas' main spokesman to the public regarding the Gilad Schalit deal.
Over the years, Marzouk has given other interviews to Western and Israeli media outlets to seek to reach out to US President Barack Obama in 2009 after he took office as well as at other points in time where Hamas wished to raise its profile with Israel and the West.
Marzouk has been a major leader in Hamas for decades and the interview also comes in a time period in which he is competing to take-up Hamas's top post in the wake of Khaled Mashaal's announcement not to continue as Hamas's political bureau chief.
The interview also occurred against the drop-back of many Hamas leaders leaving Syria and spreading out to other Middle Eastern countries in light of the ongoing conflict in Syria and regime changes in various Arab countries viewed by Hamas as potentially favorable to their cause.