Hamas on Wednesday claimed it had obtained the contents of meetings held between US Secretary of State John Kerry and PA President Mahmoud Abbas last month, with an outline of proposed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
In a statement published on its official website, the Islamic movement claimed that Abbas and Kerry agreed that the security barrier built by Israel will constitute the provisional border of the future Palestinian state and that the PA would agree to allow only a token number of Palestinian refugees into the West Bank. (The security barrier takes in about 7% of the West Bank.)
Quoting an unnamed source who supposedly participated in one of two meetings held in Amman on July 17 and 18, Hamas claimed that Kerry proposed that land annexed by Israel — constituting 8-10 percent of the territory of the West Bank — be swapped with the Palestinian Authority. Israeli construction in the West Bank, the report claimed, would be limited to large settlement blocs. Talks would take place during a six-to nine-month time frame.
The report came against a deepening rift between Hamas and Fatah, some of which has played out in the media.
The Islamic party recently claimed that peace talks with Israel have ended any prospect of intra-Palestinian reconciliation and accused Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement of fabricating news reports implicating Hamas in Egypt’s unrest.
Hamas official Mahmoud A-Zahar said on Tuesday that no agreement reached by Abbas would be binding on his party.
“I don’t take this seriously,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi told The Times of Israel, commenting on the Hamas report. “If a meeting took place between Kerry and Abbas, there was no one present to take minutes.”
A number of elements in the Hamas report run against stated PA positions and, if true, would deeply embarrass Abbas on the Palestinian street, making him appear to give into nearly every Israeli stance.
Hamas claimed that Jewish settlers could remain in territories evacuated by Israel and choose between Israeli and Palestinian citizenship, or maintain both. Last month, Abbas pledged that no Israelis would remain in the future Palestinian state.
An unspecified “East Jerusalem” would remain under joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian-international administration for 10 years, with its Jewish residents given the right to chose their citizenship.
The report also claimed that a limited number of Palestinian refugees living abroad would be allowed to return to the West Bank and Gaza as part of a family unification scheme; while the rest would be financially compensated and repatriated in Arab countries, mostly in the Gulf.
The implementation of the agreement, culminating in a Palestinian recognition of Israel as “the state of the Jewish people,” is to end within 10 years, according to the report.
The US State Department did not respond to a request for comment.