06/14/2006, 00.00
PALESTINE

Hamas suggests 50 year truce with Israel while inter-Palestinian talks start

Abbas, Hamas and Jihad have announced a week of dialogue to seek to end the prevailing climate of civil war. Hamas says future generations can worry about recognizing Israel.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A week of dialogue between different Palestinian factions, to seek to end a climate of civil war apparently prevailing in the Territories, has been accompanied by a Hamas declaration that it is open to a ceasefire of "50 or 60 years" with Israel. The condition is that the latter withdraws from territory occupied in 1967. These are the glimmers of hope emanating from Palestine, where, however, shootings took place only his morning, together with an attack against the commander of the Palestinian preventive security forces.

The announcement of dialogue came last night from the Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, at the end of a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the president had expressed "hope of attaining national reconciliation" and that agreement was reached to form a sub-committee "to discuss on the basis of the prisoners' Document for National Reconciliation". This text was drawn up by representatives of Fatah, Hamas and Jihad detained in Israeli prisons. Among other things, it calls for the constitution of a Palestinian state on territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including east Jerusalem, with the consequent implied recognition of the Jewish state, and an end to attacks. Rejected by Hamas, the document should be submitted to a referendum, also contested by the fundamentalist movement, at the end of July, unless, as Abbas said last night, "we manage to reach agreement". "We will work to reach a national agreement," said Khalil al Hiyya, member of the Hamas delegation. "We have decided that dialogue will be successful and we are working toward this end," added Khaled al Bach, of the Islamic Jihad.

Meanwhile, on the front of relations between Hamas and Israel, there is an interview given by Ahmed Yusef, political adviser of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, to the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz. He said: "If we reach a long-term 'hudna' [cease-fire] agreement, the future will show whether Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinians." As for recognition of Israel, "this is not in our plans since in any case it does not recognize the agreements it has signed" and "it's possible to leave that matter for future generations".

However a ceasefire is conditional not only upon the withdrawal of Israel from all its occupied territories, including east Jerusalem, but also on the "right of return", that is the possibility of return for Palestinians who migrated because of the creation of the state of Israel and successive occupations. The Israeli government has always rejected this proposal.

Responding to questions about attacks, after denying that his movement had any influence on the decisions of those who wanted to carry out terrorist attacks, Yusef said: "Renewing the suicide bombings does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people. Our government is against harming civilians on both sides." And, he added, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh "has acted decisively to stop civilians from being harmed, and even to stop rocket fire".   

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