[QODLink]
Middle East
Hamas ready to accept 1967 borders
US dismisses comments as Palestinian group says it will still "not recognise Israel".
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2008 02:30 GMT
Meshaal's comments follow two meetings with former US president Jimmy Carter [AFP]
Hamas has said it is ready to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders but "will not recognise Israel".
 
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader, reaffirmed Hamas's stance towards Israel and clarified his comments as relayed earlier by Jimmy Carter, the former US president.
"We accept a state on the June 4 line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees but without recognising Israel," Meshaal said.
 
The Hamas leader was making his first public comments following two meetings with Carter in Damascus last week.
Your Views

Should Jimmy Carter have met Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal?

Send us your views

Carter, speaking in Jerusalem earlier on Monday, said that Hamas had told him it would accept the right of Israel "to live as a neighbour" if a peace deal was approved by a Palestinian referendum.
 
Carter said Hamas leaders had told him they would "accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians".
 
But Carter also said Meshaal turned down his appeal for a unilateral ceasefire with Israel to end violence threatening peace efforts.
 
"I did the best I could on that," Carter said of his failure to persuade Hamas to halt rocket fire for one month from the Gaza Strip it has controlled since June when it ousted the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.
 

US dismisses comments

 

The United States brushed off Carter's report on Hamas on Monday, saying the group's basic stance had not changed.

 

"What is clear to us ... is that nothing has changed in terms of Hamas's basic views about Israel and about peace in the region," Tom Casey, the state department spokesman, said.

 

"They still refuse to acknowledge or recognise any of the basic quartet principles, including recognising Israel's right to exist; renouncing terrorism; and acknowledging all the previous agreements that have been made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel," he added.

 

Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said the Hamas position should be taken "with a grain of salt".

 

"We have to look at the public comments and we also have to look at actions, and actions speak louder than words."

 
Referendum
 
Carter said his understandings with Hamas called for a referendum to be preceded by reconciliation between the group and Abbas's Fatah faction.
 
In his news conference, Meshaal said Hamas would "respect Palestinian national will, even if it was against our convictions".
 
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Gaza-based Hamas official, said Palestinian refugees living in exile must take part in a referendum - a condition that could dim the chances of approval since Israel opposes their mass return, which could skew the state's ethnic make up.

Ghazi Hamad, a former Palestinian government spokesman, told Al Jazeera that Hamas would be willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders (leaving a reduced Israeli state inside its 1948 borders) but insisted that Hamas would not recognise Israel.
 
Carter, in his news conference, said excluding
Hamas was 'just not working'
"Hamas says frankly - we will not recognise the right of Israel," he said.
 
"Israel until now has no clear position on recognising the rights of the Palestinian people within the 1967 borders or the right of return or the rights in Jerusalem."
 
He also said that a ceasefire with Israel was possible.
 
"Many times Hamas has stopped firing missiles from Gaza but Israel continues its aggression against our people, especially in Gaza," he told Al Jazeera.
 
"If Israel stops all military aggression against our people, I think Hamas will have no problem in reaching a compromise."
 
Carter criticised
 
Carter's meeting with Hamas has drawn criticism from both the Israeli and US administrations.
 
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has refused to see Carter, who has for years been critical of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.
 
Carter, who helped negotiate a 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, said excluding Hamas is "just not working".
 
"The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with these people, who must be involved," he said.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list