Hamas calls on PA to "reconsider" peace process with Israel

Arab World Materials 22 May 2011 20:09 (UTC +04:00)

The de-facto Hamas government in Gaza on Sunday called on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to reevaluate its stance in favour of peace negotiations with Israel, DPA reported.

"The Palestinian Authority (PA) is asked to seriously reconsider and reevaluate its positions," Gaza's Foreign Ministry, led by the Islamist movement, said in a statement.

It should do so following remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

On Friday, Netanyahu said after meeting US President Barack Obama that Israel would not withdraw to the borders of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

"This clearly shows that Israel continues with its hostile policies, which reject any peaceful solution whatever its shape and content," said the Hamas Foreign Ministry statement.

"For Netanyahu, the priority is to build more settlements, annex more lands and change the demographic features of the Palestinian territories to impose facts on the ground," it said.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and has demanded a Palestinian Islamist state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Its leaders have said in recent years that it would be willing to temporarily accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza only, not in exchange for an end to the conflict, but in return for a long-term truce lasting several generations.

Short-lived direct peace talks between the Netanyahu government and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the PA, were suspended late last year, after Israel did not meet a Palestinian demand to extend a construction freeze in Israeli settlements.

Hamas and Abbas, of the secular Fatah party, had been feuding for years, causing a de-facto split between Gaza and the West Bank. But the rivaling parties reconciled earlier this month, with Abbas contemplating a request to the United Nation General Assembly for recognition of Palestine according to its 1967 borders.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War of 1967.