The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday dropped its longstanding call for Israel’s destruction, but said it still rejected the country’s right to exist and backs “armed struggle” against it.
In a policy document presented in Doha by its leader Khaled Meshaal, Hamas also said it would end its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, a move apparently aimed at improving ties with Gulf Arab states and Egypt, which view the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
Israel responded to the announcement by accusing Hamas of trying to “fool the world,” while the group’s main Palestinian political rival, the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas, also reacted coolly to the policy shift.
The publication of the policy document comes two days before Abbas is due to visit Washington, and days after President Donald Trump told Reuters he may travel to Israel this month and sees no reason why there should not be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We don’t want to dilute our principles but we want to be open. We hope this (document) will mark a change in the stance of European states towards us,” Meshaal told reporters.
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