Some of the, shall we say, less well-grounded members of the Internet community have been trying to make a mountain out of this particular molehill, although Khaled Meshal himself has emphasized that nothing has changed in Hamas’ determination to destroy Israel. And of course that’s true: all Meshal has said is that Israel exists, which is something Hamas has always admitted: it would be silly to declare your intention to destroy something that doesn’t exist. The Hamas Charter quotes Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
“PM dismisses Meshal comments that Israel’s existence is a reality,” by Avi Issacharoff in Haaretz:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday shrugged off comments by Hamas’ Damascus-based political chief Khaled Meshal, in which he acknowledged the existence of Israel.
Meshal, whose Hamas movement leads the Palestinian government, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that Israel is a “matter of fact,” apparently softening a previous refusal to accept that Israel’s existence.
Olmert, asked by reporters accompanying him on a visit to China about Meshal’s acceptance of Israel as a state that will endure, said: “Does that mean we weren’t until now?”
“Should I be expected to check what he said? Should I be expected to read what he said?” Olmert added, shrugging as he toured Beijing’s Forbidden City.
Hamas for its part denied Wednesday that Meshal told Reuters in an interview that his group would consider recognizing Israel once a Palestinian state is established. (Click here for the full interview)
One hour after the Reuters interview was published, the Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad told Haaretz that Meshal said, “Israel exists – and that’s a fact.”
However, Hamad maintained that Meshal did not say anything about recognizing Israel. “There was no change in our stance that Hamas does not recognize Israel,” he said.