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Hamas leader says militia ready to abandon Charter

Abbas wants US to negotiate borders with Israel

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Hamas leader says militia ready to abandon Charter

Aziz Dwaik, the elected speaker of the  Palestinian Legislative Council and most senior representative of Hamas in the West Bank, announced on Wednesday that Hamas was prepared to accept Israel’ right to exist and nullify its charter calling for Israel’s destruction.

"The [Hamas] charter was drafted more than 20 years ago… no one wants to throw anyone into the sea," he said, adding that senior Hamas leaders in Damascus and Gaza also supported the position. According to him, Hamas only turned to Iran for support because it has been denied the dialogue it wants with Israel and the West.

Dwiak is considered by many to be a leading contender to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the Palestinian Authority, since Abbas has said he has “no desire” to run for office again whenever elections are next held. No other Hamas officials have confirmed his comments so far, which would mark a sharp departure from its 20-year commitment to destroy Israel.

Meanwhile, Abbas reportedly requested that the US negotiate with Israel on his behalf earlier this week, in a move likely reflecting the political corner he has painted himself into by vehemently refusing to enter into negotiations with Israel unless Israel first freezes all building in West Bank settlements. The proposal will probably be at the top of Mitchell’s agenda when he meets with Abbas on Friday.

Internal politics within the PA have been rocky in recent weeks as certain Fatah figures have accused Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is supported by the EU and the US, of corruption and weakness. Abbas needs Fayyad’s support to even begin negotiations with Israel, and the efforts to undermine his standing among Palestinians makes negotiations in the near future even more problematic.


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