I’ve been waiting since yesterday for the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network, the National Council of Churches organization Churches for Middle East Peace, or the mainline church-supported U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to respond to this, but neither has anything to say. What a surprise:

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya says the Islamist movement is committed to Palestinian national reconciliation in order to fight the Israeli occupation.

He was addressing tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Gaza City to mark the group’s 23rd anniversary.

Mr Haniya had raised speculation last month about a change in the Hamas charter – which calls for Israel’s destruction – by suggesting the group could accept a referendum on a peace treaty that gives the Palestinians a state based on the 1967 ceasefire lines.

But at the rally, he said such a truce would entail “no recognition of Israel and no concessions over any part of the land of Palestine”.

Needless to say, this kind of talk does nothing to convince Presbyterians or mainliners at large that Palestinians intend to live peacefully alongside Israel. But then again, the two organizations, which have recently linked to articles essentially claiming that the Palestinian Authority has betrayed its people, and taking the Hamas line on the conflict, don’t disagree with Haniya. But there’s a problem: Palestinians as a whole have no use for him, his organization, or their saber-rattling:

The results of a recent poll conducted by Near East Consulting show a rise in the popularity of Fatah, a corresponding fall in the popularity of Hamas, and that a majority 69% of Palestinians support signing a peace treaty.

Sixty-two percent support a change in Hamas’ position to allow Israel to exist, while 38% support holding that position.

As for reconciliation between the Palestinian factions, a slight majority of 54% support Fatah’s strategy as opposed to only 6% who support Hamas’ strategy, while 40% prefer another strategy or did not know.

President Mahmoud Abbas was “preferred” by 52% as opposed to 7% for Hamas leader Isma’il Haniyeh. The remaining 41% did not answer the question. The 69% who consider the government of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad “legitimate” was up from earlier November numbers.

In questions in regard to national identity, results were more mixed. A full 57% said they considered themselves “Muslims primarily,” while 21% said they were “people primarily,” 17% “Palestinians primarily” and 4% “Arab primarily.” Eighty percent said that their fellow people were not following Islam correctly, while 20% disagreed.

The popularity of Fatah rose to 49% from 44% in July, while the popularity of Hamas fell from 7% to 5% in the same period. Still, 43% said they did not trust either faction, down only slightly from 45% in July.

So who put this news out? AIPAC? Mossad? The U.S. State Department? Nope. It was the Palestine News Network, and independent group of journalists. Don’t bother looking for it on the web sites of the IPMN, the USCEIO, the Methodist General Board of Global Ministries or Church and Society, or any of the other mainline anti-Israel sites. You won’t find it.