In an interview Monday with CNN, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar stated that a long-term truce with Israel is possible if Israel were to withdraw its troops and settlers to the “Green Line” border established in 1967, and release all Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons.He added that such a withdrawal would be a pre-condition for negotiating with Israel, but did not commit to any such negotiation. When asked whether Hamas would renounce terrorism, Zahar argued that the definition of terrorism is unfair when it is applied only to Hamas, and not to Israel. “Israel is killing innocent adults and children and destroying our agricultural base – this is terrorism”, he said.
In the interview with CNN, Zahar denied accusations that Hamas was receiving money from Iran, a fundamentalist Islamic state whose leader has been accused by Israel of anti-Israeli statements and policies. With aid money from the U.S. drying up, and Israel refusing to hand over Palestinian tax dollars to the new Hamas government, Zahar said the Palestinian government will be seeking international assistance, “as long as the financial assistance comes without strings attached”.
Articles in the Arab press have indicated that Hamas wishes to establish an Islamic-based educational system in which girls and boys are educated separately, and Zahar did not deny that possibility. He stated that a secular government "allows homosexuality, allows corruption, and allows the spread of the loss of natural immunity to diseases like AIDS”.
Meanwhile, Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz has said that the preconditions for any negotiation with a Hamas-led Palestinian government are the annulment of the charter calling for Israel’s destruction, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, the disarmament of all terror groups and the recognition of all the agreements reached with Israel so far, although he added, “The chances that Hamas will carry out all of these conditions in the near future seem quite slim.”