Hamas official calls for halt on attacks against Israel
A senior Hamas official has ordered the Islamist militant group to cease attacks on Israel, according to senior Fatah officials cited by the Ha’aretz daily newspaper.
Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal issued the order to the group’s military wing last month after reconciliation talks in Cairo with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Fatah party, the officials told Ha’aretz.
Israeli officials say they are unaware of any change in Hamas’ policy.
However, Hamas already has refrained from firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip in recent months.
A change in Mr. Meshal’s tone has been detectable in recent weeks.
Last week, he said popular protest, separate from armed struggle, has “the power of a tsunami,” citing recent uprisings in the Arab world.
Mr. Meshal expressed support for a united Palestinian state that includes the West Bank, which is controlled by Fatah; the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas; and East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed.
“Fatah and we have political differences, but the common ground is agreement on a state within the 1967 borders,” he said, referring to Israel’s boundaries before the Six Day War.
Mr. Meshal has not renounced Hamas’ charter, which calls for the elimination of Israel, and said he reserves the right to resort to violence in the future.