Senior Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan dropped a bombshell on Palestinian television on Monday, when he insisted that his faction, which controls the PLO, has never recognized Israel and thus has not asked Hamas to do so in the recent Palestinian ‘national unity’ talks in Cairo.
“I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of Hamas not to recognize Israel, because Fatah does not recognize Israel even today,” stated Dahlan.
His remarks came in an interview regarding the collapse of the Palestinian unity talks in Cairo last weekend. It is only the government of the Palestinian Authority that must “recognize” Israel, Dahlan claimed, and not out of conviction, but in order to receive needed funding from the international community.
The comments by the leading PLO figure, once the top Fatah war lord in Gaza, echoed that of PA ‘president’ and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who said in a 2006 interview that “Hamas is not required to recognize Israel… It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel, all right?”
In recent years,Western nations led by the US and EU have insisted that “moderate” Palestinian leaders such as Abbas be included in peace talks with Israel aimed at creating a Palestinian state, while saying Hamas could also join the process only if the Islamist militia recognizes Israel, renounces terror, and respects past agreements.