The Palestinian Islamic resistance group Hamas would accept a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital but without recognising Israel, according to a leaked document.
Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen leaked a copy of the document on Monday, which updates Hamas’ goals and ideology.
Middle East Eye reports that although the document refers to Palestine as the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river, it says the group considers a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip a “national consensus formula,” while emphasising the return of displaced Palestinians and their descendants.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their land by Zionists ahead of the establishment of Israel in 1948. Millions of their descendants are exiled from their homeland.
“The Palestinian cause is at its core an issue of an occupied land and displaced people,” the document says. “Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the homes from which they were evacuated, whether in areas occupied in 1948 or 1967 (in all of Palestine) is a natural right, individual and collective, affirmed by all divine laws and the basic principles of human rights and international law.”
The document also rejects attempts to naturalise Palestinian refugees in their host countries.
Unlike the group’s founding document, the new charter does not reference Hamas’ ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. It also makes a distinction between Judaism and Israel.
The document says Hamas is not at war with Jews but the group is waging a battle against the “occupation and the Zionist project.”
“Hamas rejects oppressing human beings or taking away their rights based on ethnicity or religion,” the leaked document reads. “Anti-Semitism and oppressing Jews is a phenomenon linked to European history and is not found in Arabs’ and Muslims’ history and heritage.”
In the new charter, Hamas defines itself as a liberation movement that is both Islamist and Palestinian. The document says Hamas aims to “liberate Palestine and thwart the Zionist project.”
Hamas was founded in 1988 and has pursued armed struggle against the Israelis. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections and gained control of the Gaza Strip. Israel retaliated by besieging the enclave and waged repeated wars against Gaza with the stated goal of disabling Hamas’ rocket attacks.
Israel’s supporters have used the original Hamas Charter as a stick to beat the Palestinians with and have labelled it “anti-semitic.”