The Palestinian President has extended his deadline for the ruling Hamas government to agree to a plan for statehood that implicitly recognises Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas had threatened to hold a referendum on the issue if there was no agreement by midnight last night. He has now extended that until the end of the week. Hamas’ refusal to acknowledge Israel’s existence has led to economic sanctions by the West. The controversial manifesto, which was drawn up by prisoners in an Israeli jail, has been rejected by Hamas. However, analysts say that while Hamas convincingly beat Abbas’s Fatah movement in elections earlier this year, opinion polls suggest that most Palestinians support the president’s plan.