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Hamas Weighs Options For Recognizing Israel

After having been ideologically committed to Israel’s destruction, Hamas is facing the dilemma of either recognizing Israel or losing power, writes Adnan Abu Amer.
Members of Hamas' national security forces march during a graduation ceremony at their destroyed security compound in Gaza City December 2, 2012. The compound was destroyed during the eight days of Israeli air strikes on Gaza and cross-border Palestinian rocket attacks that ended in an Egyptian-brokered truce agreement last month calling on Israel to ease restrictions on the territory.      REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR3B4J6

Recently, a lot has been said — and a lot of denials have been issued — about Hamas recognizing a two-state solution. It appears that Hamas is still vacillating between explicitly and implicitly recognizing Israel. Hamas realizes that recognizing Israel would open up the world’s doors to the movement. At the same time, Hamas knows that such a move would be seen as a betrayal by the movement’s supporters, both inside and outside Palestine.

As Hamas well knows, its legitimacy derives from its vocal support for armed struggle within the complicated Palestinian reality. Hamas also knows that it will pay a heavy price if it is seen to be agreeing to international conditions. The cost will not only be political, but also ideological.

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