Abbas Stuns Hamas With Talk of Referendum
Posted on May 26, 2006
The Palestinian president has given Hamas 10 days to accept the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and will submit the plan to referendum if the Islamic militants refuse. The plan implies a recognition of Israel, but does not renounce violence or accept past peace accords—the two other conditions the Palestinian government needs to meet to do business with the West.
In a bold initiative, the Palestinian president gave Hamas 10 days to accept the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying Thursday he’ll submit the plan to a referendum by mid-July if the Islamic militants refuse.
Mahmoud Abbas’ surprise announcement is a political gamble that could either help resolve the Palestinians’ internal deadlock or lead the Hamas-led government and Fatah into a deeper crisis.
Abbas asked Hamas to endorse a document drawn up by senior Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel. It accepts statehood in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem ? territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.