The veteran American journalist Helen Thomas has questioned why Israelis cannot accept that the people of Palestine elected Hamas in a democratic poll. She made her statement in an interview published in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, during which Ms Thomas responded to Israel's listing of Hamas as a "terrorist organisation". She is, she said, against violence, but can understand Hamas's desire to regain what was taken from them, a reference to the loss of Palestine by the creation of the state of Israel.
Saying that she is "against Zionism, not against Jews", Thomas expressed her belief that Israel should return what it has gained and does not belong to it. The country's right to exist does not give it the right to seize whatever it wants, she said.
Thomas pointed out that in the late 1940s, post-World War Two, the Jews of Europe who survived the Holocaust could have returned to their homes; they didn't need to take another people's country.
Helen Thomas was a White House correspondent for 50 years, during which ten US presidents were in residence. She was sacked from the post after she made comments critical of the Zionist state.