Israel peace deal possible if Palestinians approve in a referendum: Hamas

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December 1, 2010 23:37

Senior Palestinian Hamas leader Ismail Haniya speaking to reporters in Gaza City. Photo - Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Who: Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

What: Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas-led government, said the Islamist group would accept a peace deal with Israel if the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum. “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. “Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles,” he said, provided it included all Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora.

Where: Ismail Haniyeh addressed a rare press conference with foreign journalists in Gaza City.

When: The Gaza leader issued the statement on Wednesday, 1 December.

Why: The Hamas charter, drafted in 1988, regards all of the land of Palestine, including what is now Israel, as the heritage of Palestinians. Hamas insists Israel is not willing to give the Palestinians a fully sovereign state and therefore the resistance movement has no hope the fragile US-brokered attempts to revive peacemaking would succeed. Israel, on the other hand, is adamant Hamas would never be prepared to end its conflict with Israel in such a case.

How: Ismail Haniyeh signalled a softening of Hamas’s long-standing position prohibiting the ceding of any part of the land of what was British-mandated Palestine until 1948. The organisation has given strong indications it will accept the idea of a referendum on a future peace accord with Israel.

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