A letter from the Hamas-led government referring to a "two-state solution" - a phrase implying acceptance of Israel – has become an official UN document despite a disavowal by the Palestinian foreign minister.
The United Nations has not received any retractions or corrections of the letter that Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Palestinian foreign minister, wrote earlier this month to Kofi Annan, the world body chief.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, told reporters on Monday: "The letter is obvious. It says what it says. It is now an official UN document."
When Mansour distributed an unofficial translation on April 4, al-Zahar told reporters in Gaza that the wrong version had been sent to the UN and produced another one without references to the two-state solution.
The official UN translation from Arabic quotes al-Zahar as saying that Israel's "de facto annexation of the area, will definitely rule out any hope of achieving a settlement and peace based on a two-state solution".
"We, like all the other peoples of the world, look forward to a life of peace and security, a life of dignity in which our people enjoy freedom and independence side by side with the rest of our neighbours in this sacred corner of the world," the letter said.
Any readiness to talk about a two-state solution would imply recognition of Israel, which Hamas is formally sworn to destroy.
Hamas has come under mounting Western pressure to recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace deals or risk losing financial assistance. The United States and Europe have halted aid payments to its new government.
Al-Zahar in the letter said he wanted an "earnest, constructive dialogue" with the quartet of Middle East mediators - the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.