Hamas accepts Palestinian state based on 1967 borders in new charter

Published May 2nd, 2017 - 10:00 GMT
The chief of Hamas' political bureau speaks during the militant group's conference in Qatar, May 1 2017. (AFP/Karim Jafaar)
The chief of Hamas' political bureau speaks during the militant group's conference in Qatar, May 1 2017. (AFP/Karim Jafaar)

Hamas dropped its longstanding call for Israel's destruction and instead would accept the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas won't formally recognize Israel and does not relinquish its goal of "liberating all of Palestine," according to new political document released Monday.

Monday is Independence Day, which commemorates Israel's Declaration of Independence in 1948.

"Without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity ... Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus," the document reads.

Khaled Meshaal, the leader-in-exile of the Palestinian group that runs the Gaza Strip, announced the position in Qatar's capital, Doha.

Hamas' 1988 founding charter called for Palestine as the entire present-day Israel.

The new document accepts the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The document also notes that Hamas' fight is with "Zionist project," not with the religion of Judaism. It distinguishes between Jews who believe in Judaism and "Zionist Israeli citizens who occupy Palestinian lands."

It also doesn't affirm its connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Hamas is trying to walk a fine line between its hard-liners and its own moderates," Abu Saada of al-Azhar University told Al Jazeera. "In one way, the moderates can say they accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, but the hard-liners can still say they are not recognizing Israel."

Since 2007, Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip. But more than than 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in three major Israeli assaults.

The 1967 borders are after Six Day War, when Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.

Israel rejected the document.

"Hamas' document is smoke screen. We see Hamas continuing to invest all of its resources not just in preparing for war with Israel, but also in educating the children of Gaza to want to destroy Israel," a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

David Keyes, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said before the document was officially released: "Hamas is attempting to fool the world but it will not succeed. ... They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. This is the real Hamas."

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