Carter: Hamas ready to accept peace deal with Israel
Hamas is ready to accept the right of Israel to "live as a neighbor next door in peace," former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday. Carter's comments came after he met with the top Hamas leaders last week in Syria.
Carter stated Hamas leaders told him they would accept a peace agreement negotiated by Abbas, if Palestinians approved the deal in a vote. "They said they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians ... even though Hamas might disagree with some terms of the agreement," Carter said. According to Carter, Hamas will not undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel. He said Hamas is ready to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Carter made the comments during a speech in Jerusalem.
"It means that Hamas will not undermine Abbas' efforts to negotiate an agreement and Hamas will accept an agreement if the Palestinians support it in a free vote," he said.
Carter and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal met in Damascus on Friday and Saturday. Carter said that excluding Hamas "is just not working."
Carter also said that Hamas turned down his proposal for a 30-day unilateral ceasefire with Israel. He said Hamas did not trust Israel to respond to such a truce.