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PLO rep.: Hamas 'pragmatic'; Status quo not sustainable

Friday - 8/5/2011, 11:48am  ET

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(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

The Politics Program

Maen Rashid Areikat, chief PLO representative to U.S., speaks to WTOP's Mark Plotkin and J.J. Green, and columnist and commentator Colby I. King

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WASHINGTON -- The chief representative to the U.S. for the Palestinian Liberation Organization appeared on the "Politics Program" Friday to talk with Mark Plotkin. They were joined by J.J. Green, WTOP's national security correspondent, and commentator and columnist Colbert I. King.

Maen Rashid Areikat said he doesn't believe Hamas will have as much success in their next election as they did in 2006. The Palestinian Islamic political party, which currently governs the Gaza Strip, should not be compared to the Taliban or al-Qaida, he said.

"Hamas remains to be a very pragmatic political movement," said Areikat. "We always tell them: The only way to resolve the conflict with Israel is through peaceful means."

Palestine continues to seek admission to the United Nations as a sovereign nation, despite U.S. assurances it would veto the initiative.

"It's not an empty gesture," Areikat said. "This is an effort to tell the Israelis the status quo is not sustainable."

Palestine also sees a stark difference between negotiating for an Israeli state versus a Jewish state.

In all previous negotiations with Israelis, they never brought up the Jewishness of the state, said Areikat. Roughly 20 percent of the population is not Jewish, a majority of which is Palestinian.

Listen to the full audio of the program at right.

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