Hamas accepts Palestinian state with 1967 borders

Hamas' new policy document released on Monday hopes to improve ties with neighbouring Egypt and the West, and present a more moderate image.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gestures as he announces a new policy document in Doha, Qatar, May 1, 2017.

Palestinian group Hamas supports the establishment of a transitional Palestinian state along the borders from 1967, its leader Khaled Meshaal said on Monday after the release of a new policy document.

"Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine but is ready to support the state on 1967 borders without recognising Israel or ceding any rights," Meshaal said in Doha on Monday, announcing a new policy document.

A future state encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem along 1967 borders is the goal of Hamas' main political rival, the Fatah movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Palestine has engaged in peace talks with Israel on that basis, although the last, US-mediated round collapsed three years ago.

The group also dropped its long-standing call for Israel's destruction as well as its association with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas' move appears aimed at improving relations with the West, Gulf Arab states and Egypt, which label the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

Many Western countries classify Hamas as a terrorist group over its failure to renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist and accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.

Attempt to fool the world

Israel rejected the reported document, calling it an attempt by Hamas to delude the world that it was becoming a more moderate group.

"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," he said. "This is the real Hamas."

Hamas supporters hold crossed posters depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during a protest against them in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip April 14, 2017.

Hamas-Israel relations

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2007 and has carried out hundreds of armed attacks in Israel and in Israeli-occupied territories since it was founded three decades ago.

Arab sources said the Hamas document was released ahead of a planned visit by Abbas to Washington on May 3 and as Donald Trump administration prepares to make a renewed push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Analysts say the revised document could allow Hamas to mend relations with Western countries and pave the way for a reconciliation agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, now also headed by Abbas.

A Muslim Brotherhood-backed party held power in Egypt for a year under deposed president Mohammad Morsi, who was ousted in a military coup led by current president Abdel Fattah el Sisi in 2013.

The Brotherhood denies links with Hamas and advocates Islamist political parties winning power through democratic elections.

TRTWorld and agencies