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Hamas Voice Support for Palestinian State along 1967 Borders

  • Lou Lorscheider

Yehiya Sinwar, left, a top Hamas official in Gaza, holds his son's Ibrahim, while sitting near Ismail Haniyeh, right, a former top Hamas official in Gaza, while listening to Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader in exile, during his news conference in Doha, Qatar, while display on a screen in Gaza City, May 1, 2017. Hamas unveiled what had been billed as a new, seemingly more pragmatic political program.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas has issued a set of new policies that removes anti-semitic language in its existing charter, severs ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in territories seized by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967.

However, the new document, which calls for closer ties with Egypt, continues to reject recognition of the Israeli state and repeats demands for the return of Palestinian refugees displaced decades ago by the establishment of the Jewish state.

"… Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were displaced" the document reads.

No response from West

There was no immediate response to the document in Western capitals Monday, and it remained unclear what, if any, lasting impact it will have on Hamas' relations with Israel or moderate Arab states that view the grouping as a terrorist entity.

Nor is it clear whether the new document will improve relations with Egypt, which has been enforcing a crippling blockade against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since 2009, in an attempt to block the smuggling of weapons used by Hamas militants against Israeli targets.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, remains deeply split from its more moderate political rival, Fatah, and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian leader to meet with Trump

Fatah, which has engaged Israel in earlier peace talks, holds power in the occupied West Bank and is widely seen more favorably in Western capitals by diplomats and world leaders seeking to end nearly six decades of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

Monday's Hamas overture, announced in Doha, comes ahead of Abbas' first face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday in Washington.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Trump said he may travel to Israel in the coming weeks, and said he sees no reason why a long-sought Israeli-Palestinian peace deal cannot be reached.

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