In Palestinian Power Struggle, Hamas Moderates Talk on Israel

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Members of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in the Gaza Strip last year. (photo; Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images)

Hamas presents new charter accepting a Palestine based on 1967 borders.

By Ian Fisher / The New York Times
May 1, 2017


“Whether it’s a coincidence or it’s connected, I have one thing to say: The Palestinian leadership is afraid of this Hamas moderation. Because the [Palestinian Authority] and Fatah are afraid that by this moderation, Hamas presents itself as the true representation of the Palestinian people.”
— Mkhaimar Abusada, political scientist at Al-Azhar University-Gaza

Hamas, the militant group built around violent resistance to Israel, sought on Monday to present a more moderate public face, taking its next shot in an intensifying struggle for leadership of the Palestinian cause and international recognition.

Released by Hamas just days before its chief rival, the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, was to meet President Trump, a new document of principles for the group calls for closer ties to Egypt, waters down the anti-Semitic language from its charter, and accepts at least a provisional Palestinian state — though it still does not formally recognize Israel.

With its statement, Hamas is trying to offer a more mainstream-friendly version of its vision for the Palestinian cause, and to gain ground against Mr. Abbas, whose influence is growing more tenuous.

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