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The New Arab

Hamas eases stance on Israel with new charter

Meshaal remained adamant that Hamas will continue to fight for Palestine’s freedom [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 May, 2017

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Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal unveiled the amendments to the Hamas charter, which included eradicating its clause that seeks the destruction of Israel

Hamas unveiled a new policy document on Monday easing its stance on Israel and accepting the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

The document was unveiled in the Qatari capital Doha by exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who is due to step down soon after serving his maximum of two terms.

While the new document does not amount to recognition of Israel, it formally softens its stance in a few key areas.

“We will not back down from the Palestinian right to return,” Meshaal said in his speech on Monday, urging that Hamas will continue to fight for the rights of Palestinians made refuge as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948.

Meshaal announced that Hamas "no longer sees Jews as an enemy," and that Hamas is resisting against the “Zionist project” rather than the Jewish faith.

“Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity,” the policy statement said.

Meshaal remained adamant that Hamas will continue to fight for Palestine’s freedom, which he said extends “from the [Jordanian] river to the [Mediterranean] sea” and showed no softening of Hamas’ stance "towards the Zionist ideology or entity."

Israel reportedly rejected the document before its full publication, with a spokesman for the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, saying: “Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed.”

The original Hamas charter, completed in 1988 was an affirmation of the resistance group’s strong Islamist ideology and its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, something that Meshaal downplayed on Monday.

The move comes just two days before a White House meeting between Donald Trump and Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement remains at odds with Hamas.

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