Hamas Official Says Group Willing To Disarm for Two-State Solution

Netanyahu has said he's opposed to a Palestinian state in any future scenario

A top Hamas political official has told The Associated Press that the Palestinian group would be open to a five-year truce with Israel and would disarm and become solely a political party if a Palestinian state was established along the pre-1967 borders.

Speaking in Istanbul, Khalil al-Hayya 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.” He said that Hamas wants to unite with Fatah, which heads the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization, to form a unified government for Gaza and the West Bank.

Hamas first sent the signal last week that it might be willing to dissolve its military wing, known as al-Qassam Brigades, in exchange for a two-state solution. After a meeting with Hamas’s political chief Ismail Haniyeh, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said the Palestinian group was willing to accept those conditions.

Israel is not expected to pursue any deal that would give the Palestinians a state, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made his opposition to the idea very clear. He has said he wouldn’t allow a Palestinian state in any post-war scenario and has credited himself as the person who prevented a two-state solution in the past.

Another major impediment to a two-state solution along the 1967 borders is the over 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Settlers continue to terrorize Palestinians and drive them out of their homes, and the Netanyahu government has explicitly stated it supports settlement expansion with the ultimate goal of annexing the West Bank.

Netanyahu has maintained that his goal in Gaza is to “eradicate” Hamas even though both US and Israeli intelligence have said the group isn’t going anywhere. Al-Hayya said that Israeli forces “have not destroyed more than 20% of (Hamas’) capabilities, neither human nor in the field. If they can’t finish (Hamas) off, what is the solution? The solution is to go to consensus.”

In comments to AP, an adviser to Netanyahu dismissed al-Hayya and said Israel’s goals haven’t changed. “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government set a mission to destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities in Gaza, free the hostages and ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel and the rest of the civilized world in the future,” the adviser said. “Those goals will be achieved.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.