The Palestinian President has given Hamas until the end of the week to agree to a plan for statehood that implicitly recognises Israel. If Hamas, which heads the government, does not agree Mahmoud Abbas will put the document to a referendum. Abbas has been meeting with top officials to drum up support for the plan.
Hamas swept to power in January; since then tension between militants loyal to the group and Fatah fighters loyal to Abbas has steadily grown.The latest international fighting has left some six people wounded. It is not clear what impact a referendum would have on the violence. Analysts say if the vote goes against Abbas it could be seen as a vote against Fatah policies of negotiation with Israel.