Hamas is formulating a new outline of its policies, which will reportedly include an acceptance in principle of Palestine within the 1967 borders but not a recognition of Israel. According to reports, the document will also state that the organization was not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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According to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, sources in Hamas say that officials from the organization’s political bureau, Chairman Khaled Meshal and his deputy Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other officials from the military and political leadership, were involved in formulating and amending the document, which is still being worked on. Final approval is expected at the end of this month or early next month, when the Hamas internal elections for the political bureau and Shura Council conclude.
The report says the document will make clear that Hamas is an independent organization not tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and this will help it in its contacts with the Egyptian authorities who are demanding that Hamas be fully disconnected from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt.
Hamas officials believe acceptance of the principle of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders will help it break the boycott from foreign countries and international organizations.
Sources in Hamas say that the document will define the fight against Israel as a fight against the occupation and not against Jews, whereas the organization’s platform that was passed 29 years ago defined Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, defined the Palestinian issue as a religious issue and said that the struggle was against the Jews.
An official with the political wing of Hamas in Gaza told Haaretz that the document that will be approved in the coming weeks will not present new positions, but will summarize positions and principles that came up over the last few years, in the talks for reconciliation and understandings with the other various Palestinian factions, and in the talks with Egypt and other Arab countries.
“Anyone who has followed the statements of Khaled Meshal and the Hamas leaders will not find anything different, but in light of the major changes that have occurred in the region and within the Palestinian arena, Hamas has formulated this document to stand as an ID card for the movement and its principles,” the official said.
Last month, Hamas completed its internal elections in Gaza, including the election of Yahya Sinwar as Hamas head in Gaza, and by early next month should complete its election process abroad. In the West Bank, it is not certain there will be such an election, due to organizational difficulties presented by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Haniyeh is widely expected to be elected head of the political bureau in place of Meshal who is stepping down, and Hamas will try to present an agenda that will help its standing in relation to the international community and Arab countries, chiefly Egypt.
At this stage it is not clear how much Hamas wants to end its rift with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, but it is possible that its agreement to a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and defining the fight against the occupation in terms of a popular resistance alongside the military struggle, could serve as a basis for national agreement with the other factions, especially Fatah.