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Hamas aiming for 5-year peace deal in talks

Hamas is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and to lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders, Associated Press says.

Although it is news to the West, Hamas had already taken the position back in 2007, a decision many observers believed prompted “Israel” to lay siege to Gaza as part of an attempt to keep Hamas internationally isolated. That siege and its enforcement saw Hamas returning to armed struggle.

The comments by Hamas spokesperson Khalil al-Hayya come amid a stalemate in months of talks for a cease-fire in Gaza. The suggestion that Hamas would disarm appeared to be “a significant concession”, AP said.

“But it’s unlikely Israel would consider such a scenario,” it added.

“Israel” has vowed to crush Hamas  and its current leadership is adamantly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Al-Hayya, who has represented Hamas in negotiations for a cease-fire and hostage exchange, said Hamas wants to join the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by the rival Fatah faction, to form a unified government for Gaza and the West Bank.

He said Hamas would accept “a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international resolutions,” along Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

If that happens, he said, the group’s military wing would dissolve.

“All the experiences of people who fought against occupiers, when they became independent and obtained their rights and their state, what have these forces done? They have turned into political parties and their defending fighting forces have turned into the national army,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction from “Israel”. While the international community overwhelmingly supports such a two-state solution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line government rejects it. AP says “Israel” is instead planning an attack on Rafah.

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