Egyptian FM: Hamas will recognize Israel

'I trust that it will be capable of living with the idea of negotiating.'

hamas rally 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas rally 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Egypt's foreign minister expressed confidence that Hamas would recognize Israel's existence, in an interview published Saturday. "I am confident that Hamas will recognize Israel's existence, and I trust that it will be capable to live with the idea of negotiating with Israel," Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He noted that if Hamas joined peace talks between Israel and other terror groups, the Palestinian-Israeli standoff could be ready for a new start by May or June. Such a move would be a dramatic change in its ideology, as Hamas advocates replacing Israel with an Islamic state. Israel's acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, hopes to resume peace talks with the Palestinian groups after Israeli legislative elections in March. But Israel refuses to deal with Hamas until it disarms and renounces violence. The ruling Palestinian Fatah Party is facing a stiff challenge in next week's election from Hamas, which is participating in a legislative vote for the first time. Opinion polls predict a tight race. "I am convinced that the Hamas that works in the political frame will be absolutely different from the Hamas that adopts the armed struggle," Aboul Gheit said. Hamas, which itself has carried out dozens of suicide bombings but has largely observed a truce in the past year, is expected to make a strong showing in Wednesday's Palestinian parliamentary election.