Hamas: We Won't Accept Two-state Solution

Hamas political chief says group will however consider joining unity government if Palestinian state is established.

The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas will not accept a two-state solution as a means to end the conflict with Israel, the movement's Damascus-based politburo chief Khaled Meshal said Saturday.

Meshal said that Hamas rejects the two-state solution but could still be part of a national unity government if a Palestinian state is established based on 1967 borders.

Meshal told the New York Times last week that Hamas has agreed with the rival Fatah movement to a state based on 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and a right of return for Palestinians. He said such a deal could be the basis for a long-lasting ceasefire. Some analysts saw the remarks as an indirect recognition of Israel.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, will continue its dialogue with Fatah in Cairo on May 16. The goal is the formation of a national government.

The two-state solution, which is supported by the United States and the European Union, has not been accepted by Israel's new government under the premiership of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile Saturday, Meshal warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against asking his prime minister to form a new government.

Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement have held negotiations for months in efforts to form a unity government. But an Abbas aide has signaled that the Egypt-brokered talks had failed, and that the Palestinian president would soon ask his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to form a new government without Hamas.

Fayyad had stepped down in March to clear the way for the latest round of unity talks.

Meshal said reconciliation talks were ongoing and warned that such unilateral steps by Abbas would lack legitimacy. He spoke during a meeting of Damascus-based Palestinian groups Saturday.