Palestinians agree on statehood deal

Sakher Abu El Oun
GAZA CITY, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – All Palestinian factions except Islamic Jihad have reached an agreement on a statehood initiative that implicitly recognises Israel’s right to exist, sources in Fatah and Hamas said Tuesday.

The officials in the governing Hamas and its great rival, the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, were speaking to AFP after an emergency meeting on the initiative that has sought to solve an acute domestic crisis.

"We agreed on all the points of the prisoners initiative," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.

"An agreement was reached during a meeting of Palestinian movements and the agreement will be unveiled this evening to president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Ismail Haniya," said Fatah parliamentary bloc chief Azzam al-Ahmed.

Ahmed told AFP that Hamas’s rival, the ultra-hardline Islamic Jihad faction had not been party to the agreement.

He also said that "small changes" had been made to the text, without elaborating.

The initiative, drawn up by Palestinian faction leaders jailed in the Jewish state, implicitly recognises Israel’s right to exist by calling for a Palestinian state on land conquered in 1967.