Hamas would accept a deal creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if it was approved by Palestinians in a vote, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Monday after talks with Hamas leaders.
Carter said he had “no doubt that both the Arab world and the Palestinians, including Hamas, will accept Israel’s right to live in peace” within pre-1967 war borders.
But some of Hamas’s commitments to Carter, in talks he held with the Islamist group’s top leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus, were short on details and remarks by a Gaza-based Hamas official suggested the movement was not abandoning long-held positions.
In a speech, Carter said he heard from Hamas leaders they would “accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians.” He was referring to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and a referendum on a deal Washington hopes to clinch this year.
“It means that Hamas will not undermine (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas’s efforts to negotiate an agreement and Hamas will accept an agreement if the Palestinians support it in a free vote,” he said.