The main Palestinian factions have agreed on a manifesto that implicitly recognises Israel. Islamic Jihad is the only major group to reject it.
The surprise deal is a boost for President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been pushing the ruling Hamas party to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders alongside Israel. The text does that, although it also says peace initiatives must serve the Palestinian people – something that Hamas could use later to backtrack on acceptance of Israel. A senior aide to Abbas hailed the agreement, saying he was pleased that the barriers between different groups had been removed. Fatah believes the accord could end a US-led boycott of the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority and eventually revive peace talks. However, Israel has said the declaration is an internal Palestinian affair. A Hamas spokesman said: “This is a defining moment in Palestinian history. We are happy we’ve reached a full agreement.” The document was drawn up by prisoners in Israeli jails. It looks likely to resolve the issue of a planned referendum on Palestinian statehood that had locked Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in a power struggle.