Ghazi Hamad, former deputy foreign minister in the Hamas government, said that "there is no religious evidence prohibiting negotiations with the occupation." "Personally, I do not oppose this option, but it must first be placed within a national framework," he said. Speaking at a symposium titled "The Palestinian Cause – Proposals on the Table," organized by Hamas, Hamad said that although Hamas had in the past taken a hardline position on negotiations, people had begun to talk "in less absolute terms" as political circumstances changed. "Back then, people had not yet realized that negotiations with the occupation may become a source of strength for you – but only if you do it properly, and not like the PLO," said Hamad. His comments were aired by the Al-Jazeera network on August 1.
Ghazi Hamad: "From the perspective of Islamic law, nobody can claim that negotiations with the occupation are haram [prohibited], or even makruh [reprehensible]. On the contrary, it is permissible for a person to negotiate with his enemies. The Prophet Muhammad negotiated with his enemies. Saladin negotiated with his enemies. Abdelkader El Djezairi negotiated with his enemies. Yusuf Al-'Azma negotiated with his enemies. There is no shame in that. Unfortunately, some people say that negotiations with the occupation are not allowed. That is not true. There is no religious evidence prohibiting negotiations with the occupation. But this is where the political justification comes into play. The political perspective dictates that you determine the matter in accordance with your interests. Do negotiations with the occupation really constitute the best and most effective path? Should these negotiations be supported by other options or not? This is determined according to the circumstances. We have Fatah's experience in the negotiations, which was a complete and utter failure. It has not led to any result. I am not being pessimistic. This is the reality. After 25 years of negotiations, peace and the two-state solution are a no go.
"On the contrary, the settlements have expanded, the borders have been lost, the lands have been taken, the West Bank has transformed into isolated enclaves, Jerusalem has been besieged and has undergone Judaization... Nothing is left. Nobody – not even a blind person – would say that the peace process has been successful. So the negotiations have been managed the wrong way. Unfortunately, these have been 'toothless' negotiations. They were based upon a single player, ignoring all the other players. Personally, I do not oppose this option, but it must first be placed within a national framework.
"It is true that Hamas, as a movement founded on a religious and ideological basis, has rejected negotiations with Israel. At some point, people were prohibiting the negotiations, considering them to be a 'red line' that must not be crossed. But with the development of the political circumstances, some people have begun to talk in less absolute terms about it. I recall that in 2007, Dr. Ahmad [Yousef] and I were at the prime minister's office, and we issued a statement that negotiations with the occupation are not in violation of the shari'a. The following day, a statement came out: 'Dr. Ghazi Hamad represents no one but himself.' Back then, people had not yet realized that negotiations with the occupation may become a source of strength for you – but only if you do it properly, and not like the PLO."