speaking in Damascus, Mr Meshal said: "As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land. This is a reality but I won't deal with it in terms of recognising or admitting it." Changing the Hamas charter was also a matter for the future, he said. "The distant future will have its own circumstances, and positions could be determined then," he said.So what's new here? I think what might be new is the fact that it's Meshal who is saying this. Apart from that, nothing.
Past concessions by Palestinian negotiators went unrewarded, he argued, and Hamas would drive hard bargains over issues such as recognition. "For Israel to suck us into bargains in stages and in packages - this road constitutes an attempt to weaken the Palestinian position."
Mr Meshal's comments caused some surprise among Hamas officials in Gaza, although they were quick to point out there was little substantial divergence from other Hamas statements.
Ahmed Yusuf, an adviser to Mr Haniya, said that Hamas recognised Israel's de facto existence but was not going to recognise it officially. "Israel is there, it is part of the United Nations and we do not deny its existence. But we still have rights and land there which have been usurped and until these matters are dealt with we will withhold our recognition," he said.
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