Haniyeh considers prisoners' plan

Document must be "studied"; Islamic Jihad: 2-state solution acceptable.

barghouti prison 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
barghouti prison 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, speaking at a Gaza mosque on Friday, indicated a change in his position on the Palestinian prisoners' document. Haniyeh said that the document must be studied and refined before it could gain the approval of the Palestinians. Haniyeh's speech came a day after the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad announced that they would accept the which accepts a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The document was drafted by a group of Palestinian leaders, including Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, who has been jailed in an Israeli prison since he was apprehended during operation Defensive Shield in April 2002. The understanding reportedly calls for recognition of the State of Israel if it withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. A senior official in the Islamic Jihad said that the decision was reached in a discussion involving all the organization's leaders. The attendants issued a statement saying that the armed wing welcomed the jailed leaders' involvement in the further drafting of the understanding. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, during a visit to China, dismissed the plan as "impractical." Last week, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas presented an ultimatum to the Hamas-led government demanding they accept the compromise agreement, or else he would take the issue to a national referendum. Earlier this week, Zahar, in a meeting of the Nonaligned Movement in Malaysia, rejected the referendum, dismissing it as a waste of time and money - money that he claimed his government did not have. At the same time, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal asserted, "He who wants to know the popular will should refer to what this will determined four months ago in legislative elections."