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Hamas stages 'counter conference' in Gaza

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Hamas stages 'counter conference' in Gaza


Though Hamas has been excluded from talks, the Islamist militant group remains key to any hopes for an eventual peace. The party held its own counter-conference in Gaza, which it runs since ousting the more moderate Fatah in a power struggle in June.

Delegates signed a declaration rejecting any solution that would not address their demands on the issues of land and Palestinian refugees.

Their leader and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh emphasised the point.

He said any agreement coming from Annapolis would not be binding. He added that the Palestinian people were committed to achieving their rights in full.

But there are some signs that Hamas’s isolation may be sparking internal debate, even if many analysts believe the voices of moderation are a minority. Two senior advisors to Haniyeh have recently advocated negotiating with Israel and working to improve relations with the US.

For the moment Israel is not expecting any change in the stated position. It has boosted security along its borders with Gaza and in the West Bank in anticipation of possible attacks during the Annapolis summit.

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