'Palestinians united in seeking state'

Hamas leader backs idea anathematic to movement's extremist charter.

Hamas abu marzouk 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas abu marzouk 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Palestinians are united in seeking a state in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, a senior Hamas leader said in an unusually enthusiastic endorsement of an idea the extremist Islamic movement long opposed. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a deputy to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (residing in Damascus), made the comment in an interview published Saturday in the Hamas-linked newspaper "Palestine." Hamas was founded on a pledge to seek Israel's destruction, but some in the movement have softened their stance as part of coalition talks with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chariman Mahmoud Abbas. The Hamas-Fatah government's platform calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War. In the coalition talks, Hamas had presented its acquiescence to the idea as a major concession. However, in his interview, Abu Marzouk presented a state alongside Israel as an achievement for the Palestinians. "Now there is one team, one program, one united government ... so there is a big chance to reach the goal we agreed upon at this stage, which is a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem," he said. Despite the coalition with Fatah, signed in March in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Hamas has not changed its charter, which blames not only Israel but Jews worldwide with conspiracies to conquer the world according to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a blood-libel text published in 19th century Russia. While Hamas's charter consecrates Jihad as a method to spread Islam throughout the world, it specifically calls to believers to kill as many Jews as possible and glorifies "death for Allah as the noblest of callings."