My Way News
Hamas-Fatah to Implicitly Recognize Israel
Jun 27, 8:52 AM (ET)
By IBRAHIM BARZAK
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The rival Hamas and Fatah movements agreed on a plan implicitly recognizing Israel, a top Palestinian official said Tuesday after weeks of acrimonious negotiations aiming to lift crippling international aid sanctions.
Moderate President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has been trying to coax his Hamas rivals into endorsing the document, which calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, in effect recognizing the Jewish state. He has endorsed the plan as a way to end sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian government and pave the way to reopening peace talks with Israel.
"We have an agreement over the document," said Ibrahim Abu Najah, coordinator of the "national dialogue" over the proposal.
The plan also calls on militants to limit attacks to areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War and calls for formation of a coalition Palestinian government.
The United States, Israel and European Union list Hamas as a terrorist group because it rejects the existence of Israel and has sent dozens of suicide bombers into the Jewish state, killing hundreds.
The West demands that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous peace accords, but Hamas refuses. As a result, the West has cut off much-needed aid to the Palestinian government.
Salah Zeidan, another negotiator, said preparations were being made for a formal signing ceremony.
"All political groups are prepared for a mutual cease-fire with Israel," he said.
The document was formulated by senior Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
However, the deal was overshadowed by a crisis over the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and opposition to the deal voiced by Islamic Jihad, a small militant group that has carried out numerous attacks against Israel.
"In today's meeting, we announced we reject some of the articles of this document and we have reservations about other articles," said Islamic Jihad spokesman Khaled al-Batch.
Hamas and Fatah have been locked in a bloody power struggle since Hamas won legislative elections in January. Hamas controls the parliament and Cabinet. Abbas was elected separately last year.
Israel has said the document is an internal Palestinian matter that falls short of international demands.
With Hamas-linked militants holding a captured Israeli soldier, the Palestinian agreement is even less likely to reduce tensions. Israel has massed troops along its border with Gaza, promising a broad offensive into the area.