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Hamas Offers Israel Conditional Long-term Truce
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The Hamas-led Palestinian government said on Wednesday that it decides to offer Israel along-term truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders.

"We seek solution and political vision and Israel seeks security for its people, so this makes the Israelis suggest the truce always," government spokesman Ghazi Hamad was quoted by local radio Voice of Palestine as saying.

Hamad also clarified that the truce would be from five to 10 years, if Israel withdraws from territories it captured in the 1967 War, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Hamad's remarks came as Hamas is facing an ultimatum issued by President Mahmoud Abbas, who would order a referendum within 40 days if Hamas and other factions fail to agree to a proposal made by Palestinian prisoners earlier this month.

Abbas announced on May 25 that he would give Hamas 10 days to decide whether to agree to the proposal, which calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.

The proposal was widely seen as an implicit recognition of Israel, a stance against Hamas' political charter. Commenting on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank, Hamad did not oppose. "If Israel wants to withdraw from the West Bank, then it can," said Hamad.

Yasser Abed Rabou, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committees, slammed Hamad for supporting the West Bank withdrawal.

"Leaving West Bank means redrawing its map in a way that allows isolating its cities from each others and annexing Jerusalem and other parts to Israel," Abed Rabou told Voice of Palestine.

Abed Rabou called for solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through negotiations based on relevant International resolutions. Hamas is now under pressure to moderate its stance toward Israel so as to survive the current economic and diplomatic crisis plaguing the Palestinians.

Israel has pulled out from the Gaza Strip last September, ending 38 years occupation there.

Olmert, who vowed to set Israel's final border in 2010, plans to carry out further unilateral withdrawal from isolated West Bank settlements but to hold onto larger ones even without talks with the Palestinian side.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2006)

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