JERUSALEM – Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said Monday that Hamas – the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel – is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to "live as a neighbour next door in peace."
Carter relayed the message in a speech in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leaders in Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Middle East aimed at breaking the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leaders "said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders" and they would "accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbour next door in peace," Carter said. The borders he referred to were the frontiers that existed before Israel captured large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Mideast War – including the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
In the past, Hamas officials have said they would establish a ``peace in stages" if Israel were to withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. But it has been evasive about how it sees the final borders of a Palestinian state and has not abandoned its official call for Israel's destruction.
There is a lot more of the same in the rest of the article but there is ASOLUTELY NOTHING new here. In fact, this CNN archived report from 1997 mentions Sheik Yassin of Hamas' offer of 'peace with Israel".
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (CNN) -- Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic fundamentalist movement Hamas, said Tuesday he would forge a truce with Israel that would end suicide bombings if Israel withdrew completely from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and removed all of its Jewish settlements. "If Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and it removes all of its settlements, I will make a truce with it. You have my word for it," he said.
David Bar-Illan, a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the peace overture was "a positive change" despite the "unacceptable conditions." In the past, militants within Hamas have never indicated a willingness to negotiate. Instead, they have spoken of a "holy war" to establish an Islamic state in all of what is now Israel.
"We would like to hope that it means that (Yassin) will preach peace rather than violence," Bar-Illan said. "There is no question he has a following and charisma." But Bar-Illan said Israel would not pursue a cease-fire agreement unless Hamas as a group formally abandons its policy of attacking Israelis and destroying the Jewish state.
If 1997 is too far back for you – how about this offer of a long-term offer issued in 2006 from a BBC report.
After talks with the Egyptian government and the Arab League in Cairo in February, Mr Meshaal told the BBC that Hamas would be willing to take a serious step towards peace if Israel did the same.
He said Hamas would not renounce violence, saying resisting an occupation was legal right. But he said a long-term truce would be possible if Israel accepted conditions, including a return to its 1967 borders.
Or this Ynet News report dated January 2006 statement from the Hamas' 'foreign minister' at large:
WASHINGTON - Top Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told CNN that a "long-term hudna or long-term truce" is possible. He would not commit to negotiating with Israel and would not say whether recognizing Israel's existence is a long-term possibility.
The conditions included Israel's retreating to its pre-1967 borders and releasing Palestinian prisoners. Zahar told CNN if Israel "is ready to give us the national demand to withdraw from the occupied area (in) '67; to release our detainees; to stop their aggression; to make geographic link between Gaza Strip and West Bank, at that time, with assurance from other sides, we are going to accept to establish our independent state at that time, and give us one or two, 10, 15 years time in order to see what is the real intention of Israel after that."
"We can accept to establish our independent state on the area occupied (in) '67," he said. Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War of 1967. Key conditions could allow Palestinians to give a "long-term hudna or long-term truce," and "after that, let time heal," he said.
Of course, after JC's hawking of the Hamas peace possibilities as some kind of new revelation from on high, Khaled Mashall, the Syrian based exiled leader of Hamas went on to say this about the neighborly qualities of a Hamas peace. (Taken from Ynet News today):
Hamas accepts the establishment of a Palestinian state on within the 1967 borders but would not recognize the Jewish state, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said on Monday. Mashaal added that Hamas would grant Israel a 10-year "hudna," or truce, as an implicit proof of recognition if Israel withdraws from the land the Palestinians claims.
Mashaal's comments were one of the clearest outlines Hamas has given for what it would do if Israel withdrew from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, which it seized in 1967. He suggested Hamas would accept Israel's existence alongside a Palestinian state on the rest of the lands Israel has held since 1948. "We accept a state on the June 4 line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees but without recognizing Israel," Mashaal told reporters, referring to the borders as they stood before the 1967 war.
"We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition," he said. He said he made the offer to former US President Jimmy Carter during talks Friday and Saturday in the Syrian capital.
From 1997 to 2008, from Sheik Yassin to Khaled Mashaal to Jimmy Carter - there is no peace process until the Palestinian people and their various leaders and/or militas recognize Israel as the "Jewish" state and the national homeland of the Jews. This they refuse to do but until this is done - there can never exist circumstances for a real, comprehensive or lasting peace. And as for that hudna or truce, neither is a peace, but merely a period of calm to prepare for war.