Palestinian Authority official says Hamas accepted two-state solution
Jerusalem: The "historic" reconciliation deal inked by rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah includes working towards a two-state solution that recognises Israel`s existence, a senior official said today.
Fatah strongman and a senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) official, Jibril Rajoub told Army Radio that Islamist Hamas will implement President Mahmoud Abbas` policies under the deal and that the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership will continue working towards a two-state solution.
Hamas` charter vows to the destruction of Israel and the Western countries have made Hamas` recognition of the Jewish state a pre-condition for having any talks with the faction.
"We weren`t willing to sign the reconciliation agreement without it being clear to all factions that we are driving forward our nation to a two-state solution,"Rajoub said.
He also expressed hopes that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is still possible.
"I hope that Israel will allow Abbas to continue peace negotiations, on the basis of two states for two peoples," the PLO official added.
He also stressed that the reconciliation agreement is an internal Palestinian matter.
"We don`t want to ruin negotiations completely. I hope Israel will allow Abbas to continue talks as well as stand up to the challenge of settlements on Palestinian land," he asserted.
Hamas and Fatah yesterday announced that they have reached an agreement to end their differences and form a Palestinian unity government.
The announcement came one day after a senior PLO delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders on ways of ending the Hamas-Fatah dispute and achieving national reconciliation.
Israel reacted strongly against the deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that that?Abbas needs to choose whether he wants peace with Israel or Hamas, because he cannot have both.
"He must choose," Netanyahu said.
"Does he want reconciliation with Hamas, or peace with Israel? Only one is attainable, not both. I hope he chooses peace, until now he has not done so," the Israeli Prime Minister said.
US mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has come to a standstill as it reaches its nine months deadline on April 29 and efforts to continue negotiations under its framework increasingly looking difficult to materialise.
Netanyahu accused PA leadership for the failure saying every time the sides get close to an agreement, Abbas adds new conditions "knowing that Israel cannot accept them".
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