Hamas' New Policy Doc to Remove Call for Israel's Destruction

Trump to meet Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in their first face-to-face talks. Credit PTI

Hamas has presented a new political document that accepts the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, without recognising the state of Israel, and states that the conflict in Palestine is not a religious one.

The group has always been under pressure to update its 1988 founding charter, which calls for the destruction of the state of Israel and advocates violence to achieve its goal of restoring a Palestinian state.

The announcement was due to be made in the Qatari capital Doha, where exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is based, at a press conference scheduled for 1745 GMT.

The statement said the "excessive" practices of the Israeli occupation, particularly by the Israeli Prison Service, meant Palestinians should "clash with the occupier everywhere across our homeland".

A new document of principles for the group calls for closer ties to Egypt, waters down the anti-Semitic language from its charter, and accepts at least a provisional Palestinian state - though it still does not formally recognize Israel.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee which runs the Palestinian Authority, and an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Hamas of being decades behind in its thinking.

Analysts said the release of the document, which was presented to the public after two years of work, appears to be an attempt by Hamas to seem more pragmatic and help it to avoid global isolation. The new program makes no reference to the Brotherhood.




The Hamas manifesto was released at a time of escalating tensions between the two sides.

Hamas drove out forces loyal to Abbas in its 2007 takeover of Gaza, a year after defeating Fatah in Palestinian parliament elections.

The new political program of Hamas, published Monday, is meant to help the Islamic militant group break out of its global isolation.

Analysts say the revised document could allow Hamas to mend relations with Western countries and pave the way for a reconciliation agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, now also headed by Abbas.

While the founding charter was filled with anti-Jewish references, the new document stresses that Hamas bears no enmity toward Jews.

The new settlements also ignore Us president Donald Trump's plea for the Israelis to "hold back" on settlement building as part of a possible move towards reviving the peace process. Hamdallah addressed activists, saying that the world's super powers should immediately put pressure on Israel to respond positively to the hunger strikers' demands, which should be guaranteed under global law. Since 2008, Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza have fought three cross-border wars. "Hamas's document is a smoke screen", he said. The new leadership will be announced in the coming days, the French news agency AFP reported, quoting a Hamas official. Hamas and the PA, which controls the West Bank, blame each other for the power crisis, and Hamas may fear an uprising should the problem persist.

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