hamas stresses readiness to accept arab peace initiative
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Israel views it as attempt to fool the world

Hamas stresses readiness to accept Arab Peace initiative

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Arab Today, arab today Hamas stresses readiness to accept Arab Peace initiative

Head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Mashaal
Doha - Mohamed Habib

Head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Mashaal said that his movement is a part of the intellectual school of Muslim Brotherhood, saying that they do not deny their history or thoughts, while they are an independent Palestinian organization.

The statement came during a press conference held by Mashaal at the Qatari capital of Doha on late Monday, announced the details of the new political document of Hamas entitled "Public Principles and Policies Document". He did not rule out the acceptance of Arab Peace Initiative, saying, “We are ready to cooperate with any Arab, international or Islamic effort to achieve freedom for our people but on the basis of the principles of our people.”

He added, “Negotiating with Israel is a tool, and a mean. Hamas deals with it as a policy that could be changed. We do not accept the negotiations during the current period, as this option lacks the guarantees ensure its success.”

Israel responded to the announcement by accusing Hamas of trying to "fool the world", while the group's main Palestinian political rival, the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas, also reacted coolly to the policy shift.

The publication of the policy document comes two days before Abbas is due to visit Washington, and days after President Donald Trump told Reuters he may travel to Israel this month and sees no reason why there should not be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We don't want to dilute our principles but we want to be open. We hope this (document) will mark a change in the stance of European states towards us," Meshaal told reporters.

Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, said in the document it agreed to a transitional Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, when Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a war with Arab states. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

"Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine but is ready to support the state on 1967 borders without recognizing Israel or ceding any rights," said Meshaal, in a shift that brings Hamas more into line with the position of Fatah.

"Hamas is attempting to fool the world but it will not succeed," said David Keyes, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. This is the real Hamas."

Founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Egyptian Islamist movement, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2007 and has carried out hundreds of armed attacks in Israel and in Israeli-occupied territories.

Many Western countries classify Hamas as a terrorist group over its failure to renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements. Meshaal said Hamas's fight was not against Judaism as a religion but against what he called "aggressor Zionists".

Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasme upbraided Hamas for taking decades to join Fatah in accepting a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, a position Hamas used to criticize Fatah for.

"Hamas's new document is identical to that taken by Fatah in 1988. Hamas is required to make an apology to Fatah after 30 years of accusing us of treason for that policy," Qawasme said.

It remained unclear whether the document replaces Hamas's 1988 charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction. Meshaal said the document would "guide Hamas's daily political activity".

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