The head of Hamas’ political wing, Khaled Meshal, has agreed to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders during a recent meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Friday.
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According to the report, Meshal demanded Hamas be included in all policy decisions in the West Bank and not only in the Gaza Strip.
The statements appear in a protocol of the second meeting held between the two Palestinian leaders in Doha, on August 21-22, as published by Al-Akhbar. Unlike the first meeting, during which harsh accusations were exchanged, the second meeting was efficient.
According to the protocol, Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj informed the officials at the meeting that the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen, met with Abbas in Ramallah and claimed that the Palestinian president had crossed the line, and that a harsh Israeli response will follow. Cohen, Faraj said, accused Abbas of defending Hamas and demanded that he dismantle the Palestinian unity government. Abbas replied that the unity government is a Palestinian interest that he intends to defend.
Faraj told Meshal that Abbas stood by Hamas throughout the fighting, and the he came to the organization's defense vis-à-vis Israel and the U.S. even though he had received evidence that the group was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.
In the protocol, Meshal is quoted as saying that Hamas’ refusal to accept Egypt's initial Gaza cease-fire proposal was the primary reason that the initiative was shot down. Hamas, Meshal said, was concerned that a cease-fire with no provision for a framework for future negotiations would not further Palestinian demands.
Throughout the meeting, Meshal demanded details from Abbas on his plans regarding any negotiations with Israel. “Don’t come to me only with updates and results, I want Hamas to be partners in the process of policy formation,” Meshal reportedly said.
Abbas answered that there are few details to provide, since, in his eyes, things were straightforward: the only solution is the Israeli recognition of an outline for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Should Israel reject the outline, Jerusalem and the international community would have to bear responsibility.
In answer to Meshal’s question of how long it would take to implement the outline if it were to be accepted by the United States, Abbas answered three years.
In the event that the proposal is rejected, the Palestinians would pursue several options, Saeb Erekat – head of the Palestinian negotiation team – told Meshal: The halt of all security coordination with Israel in the West Bank; a request from the international community to recognize Palestine as a nation under occupation; and a demand that Israel and the international community take responsibility for the management of all occupied territories.
On Monday, Al Akhbar reported that Abbas had told Israel that if negotiations with the U.S. over a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines fail, he will transfer responsibility of West Bank lands to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The newspaper cited transcripts of an earlier meeting in Doha between Abbas, Meshal and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. According to the published protocol, Abbas conveyed this messages to Netanyahu in a meeting with an unnamed Israeli defense official in his Ramallah offices last month.