Hamas, Israel draw battlelines


Wednesday, February 08, 2006 07:39:05

LONDON: Hamas could agree to a "long-term truce" with Israel only if it is willing to return to the 1967 borders and recognise the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, its exiled leader told BBC radio Wednesday.

"We now say that if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, there could be peace and security in the region and agreements between the sides until the international community finds a way to solve everybody's problems," Khaled Meshaal said.

"Truce would be long-term but limited, because there's a Palestinian reality the international community must deal with. There are those kicked out of their land in 1948, the international community must find a solution for those people."

Meanwhile, Interim prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert has defined the major settlement blocs he wants Israel to retain in a final peace deal with the Palestinians.

He cited the two biggest Jewish settlements, Maale Adumim and Ariel, as well as the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem and said Israel could not give up the strategically important Jordan Valley to the east.

He also indicated that some West Bank territory would have to be given up as settlements were consolidated.