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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hamas names terms for laying down arms

A top official for the militant group has said it will turn into a purely political party if Palestinians are given their own state

Hamas is willing to lay down arms if a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reached along pre-1967 borders, a top political official for the group, Khalil al-Hayya, has told AP. Hamas, whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel, had previously rejected such a possibility outright.

In an interview on Thursday, al-Hayya said Hamas wants to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to form a unified government that would control Gaza and the West Bank.

Read more: Israel promises ‘painful blows’ to Hamas

Hamas would agree to “a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international resolutions” along Israel’s pre-1967 borders, he claimed.

As a result of the Six-Day War between Israel and a coalition of Arab nations, the Jewish state occupied the West Bank, Gaza, Syria’s Golan Heights, and other areas.

Read more: Most Hamas battalions in Gaza eliminated – Netanyahu

If a two-state solution is reached, the military wing of Hamas will dissolve, the official, who represents the group in the now stalled ceasefire and prisoner exchange talks with Israel, insisted.

“All the experiences of people who fought against occupiers, when they became independent and obtained their rights and their state, what have these forces done? They have turned into political parties and their defending fighting forces have turned into the national army,” al-Hayya explained.

According to AP, it is “unlikely” that Israel would consider such a scenario as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to keep fighting Hamas until its complete elimination, and has repeatedly spoken out against a sovereign Palestinian state.

In January, another senior Hamas official – Khaled Mashal – told Kuwaiti podcaster Amar Taki that “we have nothing to do with the two-state solution.” The group’s members “reject this notion, because it means you would get a promise for a [Palestinian] state, yet you are required to recognize the legitimacy of the other state, which is the Zionist entity,” he said.

Mashal insisted that the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage, was a sign that the Palestinians could retake all their lands. “I believe that the dream and the hope for Palestine from the river to the sea and from the north to the south has been renewed,” he said.

The death toll from Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive in Gaza, launched in response to the Hamas incursion, has surpassed 34,305, with 77,293 others wounded, according to the latest data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry.