"We think that Palestine is our homeland and that the Israelis occupied it by force," said Nafez Azzam, a member of the PaIestinian resistance group.

But "we can accept a Palestinian state covering all of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem" as a temporary arrangement, he said.

Asked about the expiry date of the temporary arrangement, he said: "Nobody knows. We leave this to the next generation."

It was the first time that the small group, which spearheads anti-Israeli attacks along with Hamas, declared publicly its readiness for such a deal. 

Islamic Jihad does not recognise Israel and is seeking the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory covered by Britain's post-World War I mandate, which today corresponds to Israel and the Palestinian territories. 

"A Palestinian state on 1967 territories should enjoy complete sovereignty without the presence of Jewish settlers. Such a state will not recognise Israel" 

Nafez Azzam,
Islamic Jihad leader

Azzam said a Palestinian state on 1967 territories should enjoy "complete sovereignty" without the presence of Jewish settlers.

He also said such a Palestinian state "will not recognise Israel because it has been established on our land. The presence of Israel on my land is not legitimate." 

Hamas, which maintains the same position toward the Jewish state, also expressed readiness to accept the creation of a Palestinian state on a temporary basis on territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. 

Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said in an interview on Tuesday that the group would accept such a state on the condition that all Jewish settlements are dismantled.