Hamas split on prisoners' proposal

Hamas is reportedly divided over a national consensus programme contained in a document drafted recently by the leaders of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

    Some Hamas members reject any recognition of Israel

    The document stipulates the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital and calls for repatriation of refugees following UN resolution 149.
    Sources close to the movement in the Gaza Strip told Aljazeera.net that many Hamas leaders in the West Bank as well as a "significant number of Hamas leaders" in Israeli prisons support the document, while the movement's "hardcore leadership" in the Gaza Strip was "suspicious about it".
    Ghazi Hamed, the government spokesman, acknowledged in an interview that "certain differences of opinion exist". However, he added that more discussion was needed to assess the document.
    According to insiders within Hamas, the main opposition to the prisoners' document comes from the movement's leadership in Gaza, which rejects any suggestion of recognising the legitimacy of Israel for theological reasons.
    A Hamas leader, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said: "I think one of the possible compromises being deliberated is a declaration by Hamas voicing readiness to reach peace with Israel in return for total Israeli withdrawal from 100% of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip."

    This view, according to the leader, was accepted by a majority of the Hamas leadership in the West Bank.

    Peace prospects

    Last month, Khalid Mishaal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, was quoted as saying that the group would agree to reach peace with Israel in return for the creation of a viable Palestinian state on all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem.
    Israel has consistently refused to give up the land it took in the Six-Day War, arguing that the occupied territories are "disputed" rather than "occupied".
    Israel has built hundreds of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera



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