Zahar hints at cease-fire with Israel

Demands creation of Palestinian state; doesn't guarantee recognition of Israel.

January 30, 2006 07:58
zahar rally 298.88

zahar rally 298.88. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar revealed that a long-term cease-fire, or hudna, with Israel would be possible provided that Israel adheres to a long list of demands. In an interview to CNN on Monday, Zahar insisted that Israel allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including free access between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Two other demands included the release of Palestinian prisoners and the "cessation of aggression" on the part of Israel. If Israel would concede to Zahar's stipulations then, he claimed, the Palestinians would be willing to allow a 10-15 year trial period "in order to see what is the real intention of Israel after that." However, the Hamas leader never said that his movement would ever recognize Israel's right to exist, nor did he reveal any willingness to negotiate. "Negotiation is not our aim. Negotiation is a method," he said. Zahar was also careful to evade questions about renouncing terrorism, claiming the definition was unfair. Instead of addressing his own organization's terrorist methods, he accused Israel and the United States of terrorism against Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghanis.

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