Last updated on: 5/16/2008 5:37:00 PM PST

Should Hamas Recognize Israel's Right to Exist?

PRO (yes)

Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, on Feb. 19, 2006, made the following remarks to the Israeli Cabinet:

"From our point-of-view, the swearing-in of the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] means that Hamas has - in effect - taken control of the PA [Palestinian Authority]. Israel views the rise of Hamas as a dangerous milestone that turns the PA into a terrorist authority. This new situation will influence the future of Israeli-PA relations and will begin a period in which ties with the PA are downgraded, unless Hamas fully accepts the principles that the international community has presented to it: Recognition of the State of Israel and abrogation of the Hamas Covenant, the renunciation of terrorism and the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures (by adopting the Roadmap and accepting its principles), and recognizing all understandings and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians."

Feb. 19, 2006 - Ehud Olmert, LLB 

Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, on Feb 3, 2006, told Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot the following:

"If Hamas wants to establish a government, Hamas must recognize Israel. I don't want to say what Khaled Meshaal [senior Hamas leader] needs to declare and what Hamas needs to do in order for you [Israel] to accept it, but without recognizing Israel, it won't work."

Feb 3, 2006 - Hosni Mubarak  

The Quartet on the Middle East, comprised of the US Secretary of State, the UN Secretary General, the Russian Foreign Minister, and a representative of the European Union, issued the following statement on Jan. 30, 2006 in response to Hamas' victory in the Jan. 2006 Palestinian elections:

"It is the view of the Quartet that all members of a future Palestinian government must be committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap. We urge both parties to respect their existing agreements, including on movement and access."

Jan. 30, 2006 - Office of the Quartet Representative 

CON (no)

Mousa Abu Marzook, PhD, Deputy of the Political Bureau of Hamas, in a July 10, 2007 Los Angeles Times Op-Ed titled "Hamas' Stand," wrote:

"The sticking point of 'recognition' has been used as a litmus test to judge Palestinians. Yet as I have said before, a state may have a right to exist, but not absolutely at the expense of other states, or more important, at the expense of millions of human individuals and their rights to justice. Why should anyone concede Israel's 'right' to exist, when it has never even acknowledged the foundational crimes of murder and ethnic cleansing by means of which Israel took our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees?"

July 10, 2007 - Mousa Abu Marzook, PhD 

Mahmud al-Zahar, MD, head of the Hamas majority faction in the Palestinian Legislature, in a Feb. 4, 2006 Washington Times article was quoted:

"Israel is not a legitimate entity, and no amount of pressure can force us to recognize its right to exist."

Feb. 4, 2006 - Mahmoud al-Zahar, MD 

Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, the late leader and spokesman for Hamas, in a Mar. 22, 2004 BBC News article titled "Who Are Hamas?":

"It is forbidden in our religion to give up a part of our land, so we can't recognise Israel at all. But we can accept a truce with them, and we can live side by side and refer all the issues to the coming generations."

Mar. 22, 2004 - Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, MD 

The 1988 Hamas Covenant contained the following statements in rejection of Israel's right to exist:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it' (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)."

Article six states

"It [Hamas] strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."

Article eleven states:

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [inheritance] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

Article fourteen states:

"[The] liberation of Palestine is... an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be."

1988 - Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement)