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Mashaal says his reported 'two-state' comments are false

Feb. 4, 2013 11:09 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2013 10:54 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal told Jordanian state TV on Saturday that media reports suggesting he accepts the two-state solution are false.

Last week, the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported that Mashaal asked Jordan's King Abdullah to inform US President Barack Obama that Hamas will accept two states for Israel and Palestine.

But Mashaal tried to dampen the comments in a TV interview, saying the movement would not "all of a sudden accept a Palestinian state with interim borders."

The party chief was referring to a possible political position of Hamas, to accept a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a temporary measure, or "interim borders", as part of a long-term ceasefire with Israel.

"We do not accept any other alternative to Palestine," he said, without making clear if he meant historic Palestine, now partly the state of Israel, or the West Bank and Gaza.

The exiled Hamas leader, widely regarded as a pragmatist in contrast to more hardline leaders based in the Gaza Strip, has equivocated about the party's position towards the Israeli state.

In interviews with international media he has endorsed the two-state solution, and he professed support for President Mahmoud Abbas' statehood bid, which is based within the 1967 borders, at the UN last year.

But the party continues to officially deny it supports two states, and Mashaal peppers his political rhetoric with references to territory within the state of Israel, hinting at wider ambitions.
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