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Palestinian Factions Said Near Agreement on Statehood Plan

  • VOA News

Rival Palestinian factions have met on Saturday in the Gaza Strip and are said to be near agreement on a political strategy that includes a statehood plan drawn up by Palestinian prisoners.

A Palestinian lawmaker from the militant Islamic group Hamas Parliament speaker Aziz Dweik said Saturday an agreement between Palestinian factions will be signed within two days. This has not been confirmed.

Media reports say the agreement would include consensus on the prisoners' document that calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel and implicitly recognizes the Jewish state.

Some media reports say the agreement would also turn over the Palestinian Authority to independent technocrats.

A move to restructure the Palestinian Authority could convince western nations to restore aid, which they suspended after Hamas took power in March. An agreement could also ease tensions between the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamic governing group.

A power struggle between Fatah and Hamas has erupted into violence. Gun battles have left at least 20 Palestinians dead.

Hamas has opposed the prisoners document and refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence. Hamas also opposes Mr. Abbas scheduling a referendum on the plan.

Mr. Abbas has said an agreement among Palestinian factions would end the need for a referendum.

On Friday, the European Union announced a plan to restore aid to the Palestinians that would bypass the Palestinian Authority.

But Mr. Abbas said the plan is insufficient and will weaken the Palestinian government.

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